Toowoomba QLD, Australia, 7 October 2016 | David Packman

Max Purcell has made his second consecutive Pro Tour semifinal after upsetting Dayne Kelly in straight sets at the Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba Tennis International on Friday.

After taking the first set in a tiebreaker, the fifth seed wasted no time in closing out the match 7-6(6) 6-2.

“I was hitting my forehand really well today which helped because it was getting high on his backhand which he seemed to struggle with,” said the 18-year-old from Sydney.

The win comes after his comprehensive defeat of top seed Luke Saville in Brisbane last week.

“That felt good. I played really well. He wasn’t hurting me too much and I managed to stay on top of him,” Purcell said.

Purcell has had a breakout season in 2016, becoming the second lowest-ranked player to win an ATP Challenger title – in Gimcheon, Korea – since 2000.

“I had a goal of getting inside the top 500 and that kind of did it for me,” he said. “Winning that Challenger gave me a fair bit of confidence and I guess I’m maturing and the body is getting a bit stronger – so everything is kind of clicking.

“I just have to keep it going I guess. My next goal is to play all the Grand Slam quallies next year.”

Purcell will now face American Jarmere Jenkins, who he lost to last week indoors in Brisbane.

“He was playing really well,” Purcell said of that semifinal.

“I just had no answers for him. But Toowoomba being outdoors and a bit breezy and bouncy helps me a bit. He doesn’t have many weaknesses and he’s really quick – you can’t just hit through him – so we’ll just see what happens.”

A runner-up in Alice Springs (to Marc Polmans) and a winner in Brisbane in recent weeks, Jenkins is finding some sublime touch on his return to the game after a year-long hiatus.

The American had too much class for Thomas Fancutt in Friday’s quarterfinal.

In other matches, second seed Blake Mott proved too strong for Alex De Minaur – who backed up his efforts in Brisbane with another good run in Toowoomba – while Marc Polmans moved through courtesy of a Harry Bourchier retirement.

With Polmans searching for a third Pro Tour final in a row, his semifinal match-up with Mott on Saturday is sure to provide an entertaining spectacle for local tennis fans.

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