Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Cincinnati Open, losing in the quarter-finals to world No 6 Tomas Berdych 3-6, 4-6.
Murray is looking to retain his crown at Flushing Meadows, but with the final grand slam of the year set to start in 10 days' time, the Scottish world number two would have been hoping for a good run in in Cincinnati this week.
Despite starting well in his quarter-final encounter against Berdych, Murray failed to take his chances as he suffered a surprise defeat.
World number six Berdych had triumphed in the pair's last encounter, at the Madrid Masters in May, but Murray defeated the Czech en route to his Flushing Meadows win last year.
And it seemed the Wimbledon champion was at the top of his game today after Berdych barely escaped his opening service game before Murray opened his account with four aces.
The two-time grand slam champion continued to pressurise his opponent's serve, but Berdych held firm and then broke in the eighth game after Murray netted a forehand.
Berdych served to love to wrap up the first set and then staved off three break points in his next service game.
It proved to be a crucial hold as Berdych then broke 2008 and 2011 Cincinnati winner Murray in the next game at the second attempt.
Despite fleeting moments of quality, Murray failed to force his way back into the contest and a composed Berdych held his nerve to set up a clash with either Rafael Nadal or defending champion Roger Federer.Reuse content