Daniel Smethurst reached the final of Faro’s second ATP Futures tournament last Sunday before losing 6-2, 6-2 to Slovakian No3 seed Andrej Martin.
The young Briton heads up the lower half of the draw in Loulé for the last in this series of three ranking events this week where countrymen James Marsalek and Matthew Short are also competing.
Abroad, Algarvean Portuguese No1 Rui Machado continued to struggle with a wrist problem which has seen him fail to win a singles match this season.
The 27-year-old’s latest defeat came in the opening round at Indian Wells where Argentina’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ran out the 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 victor.
At the same tournament Frederico Gil entered the main draw as a ‘lucky loser’ before exiting 7-5, 6-3 to giant American John Isner in round two.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the title favourites following Andy Murray’s early surprise defeat to Machado-conqueror Garcia Lopez.
Both Machado and Gil will remain in the US to compete in next week’s Miami tournament before joining the Portuguese Davis Cup squad for the April 6 to 8 Europa/Africa Group 1 tie against Israel.
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