Andy Murray skidded out of the Olympic tennis tournament in the first round tonight after a forlorn performance saw him well beaten 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 by the world number 77 Lu Yen-Hsun.
But Murray only had himself to blame for his early departure after failing to take advantage of the chances that came his way and allowing the man from Chinese Taipei to score one of his career-best wins.
Murray's only hope of securing an Olympic medal now rests with the doubles event, in which he was still set to start alongside brother Jamie because of the delayed schedule.
Murray had twice taken the initiative in the opening set only to be broken back immediately on each occasion, forcing a first set tie-break in which Lu claimed the early advantage.
From 6-2 and four set points behind, the Scot clawed his way back to 6-5 only to then double-fault and allow Lu to win the first set, to the delight of the majority of the sparse Court One crowd.
A brief rain delay early in the second set seemed to help Murray, who hit back from an early break down to 2-2, but the favourite, struggling throughout, had to battle hard to stay in the set.
At 4-4 Murray finally got his chance on the Lu serve when he went 0-40 up, but again Lu was allowed to wriggle out of trouble, saving four break points to himself move within one game of the match.
At that point a Murray defeat looked inevitable with the Scot trudging around the baseline and seemingly lacking the stomach to scrap his way back into the match in humid conditions.
Starting the crucial game with a double-fault, Murray duly produced a series of errors to set up Lu with the chance to whip a fine service return on his first match point. Murray netted, and his Olympic singles dream was over.