Andy Murray struggled in the heat as he lost to Mardy Fish in the quarter-final of the Cincinnati Masters.
The Scot was visibly suffering in the second set and also received treatment for an apparent knee problem as Fish came through an energy-sapping contest 6-7 (7-9) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) in two hours, 56 minutes.
Fish clinched the upset when Murray smacked a forehand into the net, becoming the first unseeded player to reach the Cincinnati semi-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2007. Murray needed frequent rubdowns on both legs during changeovers, but took a 4-2 lead in the second tiebreaker. Fish then won four straight points, the last when Murray sent a forehand passing shot wide and then slammed a ball out of the stadium in frustration.
Murray said afterwards that he was disappointed that tournament organisers had given him three consecutive starts in the midday heat. Murray, who won in Toronto last week, has played eight games in 10 days, all of them between noon and three pm local time. The on-court temperature on Friday was more than 38 degrees Celsius.
After Thursday's win over Latvian Ernests Gulbis, Murray asked organisers if he could be given a later slot. "If you ask for a late match and you're put on first, that's not... that's pretty ...," said Murray, hesitating and picking his words carefully. "I don't ever request really when to play. I don't make many demands at all during the tournaments."
The world number four said organisers had told him he needed to start at midday as Fish was playing in the doubles competition later yesterday. "They said that because Fish had to play doubles they wanted us to play early. But I'm not sure, the way the tennis works, I don't think matches should be scheduled around the doubles because it's the singles that's on the TV," he said.
Murray left the court after the first set, which he won on a tie-break, to cool down in the locker room and received medical attention before returning and losing the second 6-1. He said he had he considered calling it quits but had been determined to keep on till the end.
"You always try and finish matches. I think I've pulled out of maybe one match, two matches out of over 300 or something on the tour. It does cross your mind a little bit when you're kind of struggling like that. But the doctor and the physio did a good job with the ice and cooling me down a little bit."
Murray heads into the US Open, which starts in 10 days' time, with a real chance of winning his first Grand Slam event and he said he was sure he would be in peak form. "Physically [this week] will have been very good for me before the US Open. I'm going to be fresh when I get there, but I've played three long matches, two to 7-6 in the third, and another three-setter in the first round was definitely beneficial.
"I just would have liked to have been given a better opportunity to recover."
Murray claimed he was ready for the US Open, which gets under way in New York in 10 days time. "[I've] put in a lot of work off the court," said Murray. "I've worked as hard as I can to get in really good shape. I've had more than enough matches before the US Open, I think."
*The world No 1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from the 2010 US Open as she continues to recover from a cut to her right foot. The three-times former champion cut her foot on a piece of broken glass in July, which required surgery, and she has not competed on the WTA Tour since winning her 13th career grand slam title at Wimbledon. US Open tournament director Jim Curley said in a statement: "We regret that Serena Williams is unable to play the US Open and wish her a speedy recovery. She will be missed, but the tournament is about the competition and the players on the court. This year's US Open will be a memorable event, as it has been every year."