ups and downs

Portuguese men’s tennis No1 and world No84 Rui Machado looked to be in unbeatable form during the early rounds of the ATP Challenger in Trani, Italy.

The 27-year-old Algarvean made short work of Chilean Jorge Aguilar and Belgium’s Yannick Mertens before dispatching Austrian Matin Fischer 6-0, 6-3 in only 71 minutes to reach the last four.

However, talented Argentine semi-final opponent Leonardo Mayer proved a size too big and Machado was beaten 6-4, 6-0.

The 29 ATP points gained should see him rise a further three positions in next week’s rankings, ensuring that he begins in San Marino on Monday as one of the favourites.