Japan's Daniel knocked out by Carreno Busta

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Estoril (Portugal) (AFP)

Japan's Taro Daniel succumbed 6-4, 7-5 to Spanish eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round of the ATP Estoril Open on Thursday.

On another sunny day on the Iberian peninsula, Daniel was twice made to pay for losing his serve at crucial moments in both sets as Carreno Busta moved into his second career quarter-final.

"I'm happy to win in straight sets against a really tough opponent," said Carreno Busta after overcoming New York-born Daniel who trains in Valencia.

The finalist this season in Sao Paulo added: "He fought a lot and I relaxed a bit in the second set. I had to re-focus my tennis and play aggressive to win. I could have lost that set."

French top seed Gilles Simon was making his start in a second-round match against compatriot Paul-Henri Mathieu, who leads their series 3-1.

Two of the Friday quarter-finals have already been decided with second seed Nick Kyrgios playing Croatian Borna Coric in a battle of fast-rising youngsters while French third seed Benoit Paire will take on Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Host nation Portugal lost the last of its four players in the tournament as Spain's Nicolas Almagro put out fourth seed Joao Sousa 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Number 34 Sousa had run off with the opening set but was unable to keep up his momentum against Almagro, who will wait for a quarter-final opponent as Argentine seventh seed Leonardo Mayer faces Italy's Paolo Lorenzi.

Almagro, winner of a dozen ATP titles and ranked 71st, hammered 13 aces in a victory lasting just under one and three-quarter hours on the clay over Sousa.

The 30-year-old winner levelled his 2016 match record at 9-9 by reaching his second quarter-final of the season.

He finished runner-up two months ago in Buenos Aires to Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Sousa, broken four times, dropped to 5-13 since the start of January as he lost his fourth match on his preferred clay.