Algarve ace

Faro’s Rui Machado leapt five places to number two in the 2011 ATP year-to-date challenger rankings after taking a record fourth tour title this season.

The 27-year-old beat dual Estoril champion Albert Montanes 6-2, 0-6, 6-0 in the semis of the Sczecin Challenger in Poland before going on to defeat Eric Prodon 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Monday’s rain-delayed final.

Now ranked a career-best No61 in the world, Machado immediately travelled to Bucharest to contest the ATP World Tour Bulgarian Open where Fillipo Volandri was his first round opponent t- unfortunately his previous exertions told and he slipped to an uncharacteristic straight sets defeat.

Nonetheless, Machado has now overtaken compatriot Frederico Gil and is the all-time highest ranked Portuguese player in the world.

The so-called Nastase Tiriac Trophy features a host of Top 100 players headed by Juan Ignacio Chela and Gil was still in contention at the time the Algarve Resident went to press on Wednesday having beaten opening opponent Jeremy Chardy.