For March the player we are featuring is 23 year-old, Rui Machado from Portugal.
The venue for his first tournament this month was Lagos, Portugal. Held on a hard court surface, Rui came into this tournament off the back of a title winning performance in Faro, Portugal the previous week. Pedro Clar-Rossello from Spain provided the opposition in the opening match from which Rui emerged victorious 62 64. A British player, Miles Kasiri, was next to face the inform Portuguese Davis Cup player and once again Rui recorded a straight sets win, this time 64 61. The quarterfinals matched him up against Julien Maes from France. In this match Rui only dropped 3 games on his way to a 63 60 win to set up a semi final match against Amir Weintraub, the number 1 seed from Israel. Rui managed to keep his incredible run going and made the final following a 62 62 victory. Rui’s second title in succession in Portugal was claimed after defeating Thiemo De Bakker from the Netherlands in the final. Like all Rui’s opponents before him here in Lagos, Thiemo was unable to take a set off Rui as Rui ran out a 64 63 winner.
Looking to complete a hat trick of singles titles in successive weeks here in Portugal and for what would be his second singles title in March, Rui moved onto the tournament in Albufeira. The tournaments number 3 seed, Komlavi Loglo from Togo, was to be the opening round opponent here for Rui. Playing against a highly seeded player a tough match was anticipated but Rui carried on where he left off the previous week and recorded yet another straight sets victory, 62 64 the final result. Another straight sets victory (61 64) followed in the next round against Spanish player Roberto Bautista-Agut. For the second tournament running, Rui took on Julien Maes in a quarter final tie but just as in their previous encounter, it was Rui who emerged from the match victorious and yet again it was in straight sets, the final score being 64 61. After eight singles matches in March, Rui finally dropped a set. Unseeded Oscar Burrieza-Lopez from Spain took the opening set of the semi final on a tiebreak 7-1. Rui, now having lost the opening set in a match for the first time since his third round match at Portugal F3 back in January, a run of 22 matches, managed to level this match by taking the second set 64. This semi final was brought to a premature end in the final set when Oscar retired from the match with Rui leading 2-1. Now into his third successive singles Futures final in Portugal, Rui would have to overcome the 4th seeded Australian Carsten Ball to secure his hat trick of singles titles. Having come this close Rui was not about to let this opportunity slip away and wrapped up a 62 62 victory.
Rui next moved onto Spain, where he competed in the singles and doubles events in Zaragoza. Obviously still highly confident and with his form of late who could blame him, Rui breezed through the opening round in the singles event against the number 6 seed Gorka Fraile, winning 61 61. Frenchman Jonathan Dasnieres De Veigy only fared slightly better against Rui in the next round, losing 62 63. In the quarter final, Rui was up against David Ruiz-Ventura, a Spanish player who had come through the qualifying event. Once more Rui recorded another straight sets victory (64 62) to make it 12 straight set victories for the month. The semi final was to see the end of Rui’s impressive winning streak. His opponent was again a qualifier, Pere Riba-Madrid, who was also the number 3 seed. Pere defeated Rui 75 62 and also went on to take the title here.
In the doubles event, Andoni Vivanco-Guzman from Spain partnered Rui. The pair won through to the final with relative ease, they did not drop a set in three matches and only lost 2 games in their semi final win. The final ended in a defeat for Rui and Andoni, going down 63 64 to Guillermo Olaso and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, both from Spain.
To summarise, March was a successful month for Rui as he won two Futures singles titles to add to the two titles he won in February. Also it is worth noting that starting with his first round win in Italy in early February, Rui managed to win twenty-three consecutive singles main draw matches before his defeat in the semi final of Spain F12 in late March. This places him in joint 6th position in an all time list of successive main draw Futures matches won. This run of victories brought him a total of 4 titles, three of these coming in successive weeks. During this 23 match main draw winning streak, Rui only lost 2 sets. He even played in a qualifying event during this same period winning all three matches played without losing a set.