Seeds true to form in finals

TOP seeds have dominated Wodonga’s Labour Day singles and doubles.

Big serving Daniel Byrnes proved too good for the Border’s Jade Culph in the men’s final between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, while No. 1 seed Alana Parnaby went back-to-back in the women’s event.

Last year’s Labour Day tournament winner took the first set in a tiebreaker before racing away with the second over Tasmanian 16-year-old Catherine Krueger.

The Australian Money Tournament was the final leg of a treble on the Border’s grasscourts for Parnaby last year after she also won the Margaret Court Cup and Victorian Grasscourt titles.

Byrnes, ranked inside the top 60 in Australia, said he got lucky in the first set.

With Culph serving at 4-5 and 30-30, a mistimed forehand gave Byrnes the set point he needed.

Byrnes, 29, spent the past week playing in a professional tournament at Mildura.

“I think the last time I was here when I was 14 for the grasscourt nationals, but these are great courts and there is a good atmosphere,” he said.

“My game is based around my serve and coming to the net and on grass it helps to be able to do that.

“Jade’s a tough competitor, and I knew that, but he is also very good on grass.

“I got lucky at 5-4 and was able to get on top early in the second set, but it was pretty tough going out there.”

Byrnes made it a double celebration in the doubles, relegating Albury pair Culph and Mark Shanahan to runners-up.

Culph will now look to Albury’s 100th Easter Tournament as his next competition.

The recently appointed Yarrawonga coach was offering no excuses in the hot conditions.

“Daniel’s a very solid player, particularly on this surface. In the middle of the day the courts are lightning fast but he served really well,” he said.

“The first set was tough going and pretty tight — I hit the spot with the first serve at 30-30 and he cracked a forehand, caught it a bit late for the point and then played really well to win the set.

“In the second set I barely got a racket on the ball and he was too good on the day.”

Parnaby, 19, will take a short break to prepare for two Futures tournaments later this month and early April.

“But I love the grasscourts and I seem to play well on them so that’s a bonus,” she said.

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