Andy Murray blamed a misfiring return of serve after he suffered final heartbreak at the hands of Novak Djokovic, losing in straight sets at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami yesterday.
The world number one bullied Murray's serve throughout to clinch his first title of since the Australian Open 6-1 7-6 (7/4).
Murray was on the back foot from the start, losing back-to-back service games to concede the first set, before relying on his defiance to remain in the contest.
The Scot somehow forced a second set tie-break, despite being taken to deuce in four of his six service games, but Djokovic had enough answers to secure a successful title defence and reassert his dominance over his long-time rival.
"I didn't return well today, which is normally one of the best parts of my game. That was the difference, in my opinion," said Murray on http://www.atptour.com. "[I was] not getting into enough of his service games because I missed too many returns.
"If I was able to get into more longer rallies on his service games, then maybe it would have been a different result in the second set."
Djokovic beat Murray in a marathon five-set semi-final at Melbourne Park but the Scot won their most recent meeting in Dubai last month to give him hope.
And the Serbian felt his latest victory was more down to his own impressive serving statistics than any failings on Murray's part.
"When he feels the chance, he always grabs it," Djokovic said. "Luckily for me, I came out with some good serving when I needed to.
"I think I served over 70 per cent of first serves in, which was really important today to get a couple of free points on that serve and set up a good second shot. I [did] that when I needed to."