Smash hit

Faro’s Portuguese tennis No1 Rui Machado finally returned to winning ways in Rome last week.

The 28-year-old who had been winless this season so far overcame Russian Evegny Donskoy 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in the first round of the ATP Challenger Series Rai Open before going on to see off Andrey Golubev, fellow Portuguese João Sousa and Jan Hajek on his way to a final showdown with Roberto Bautista-Agut. In the event the fast-improving 24-year-old Spaniard proved too good, emerging the narrow 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 victor to lift the trophy.

Meanwhile, Portuguese No2 Frederico Gil celebrated one of the biggest successes of his career in defeating world No35 Mikhail Youznhy 6-1, 6-3 at the Monte Carlo Open before going out to France’s Gilles Simon. The Masters 1000 event was won for a record eighth time by Rafael Nadal who easily dismissed top seed Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 in the final.