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Mission impossible

Portugal were never going to beat a full-strength Switzerland in their Davis Cup Group One eliminator and with Roger Federer and fellow world top-20 ranked Stanislas Wawrinka taking to the Berne courts, the task was hopeless.

Five defeats spellt out the expected whitewash but one man will cherish the memory for ever.

Portuguese No2 Rui Machado from Faro described the occasion as “one of the moments which define my career” as he stepped out to face the player he considers the technically best of all time.

Unbelievably Machado took the first set 7-5 before going down in four to Federer.

“I surpassed myself,” the elated 27-year-old Algarvian said afterwards. “I now feel motivated to prove to myself that I can play a lot better than I have shown in recent times.”