Andy Murray’s Madrid Open campaign ended in the early hours of Saturday morning local time as he lost 7-5 6-3 to David Ferrer in the quarter-final.
The Spaniard took over an hour to win a hard-fought first set, leading 5-2 at one point before Murray won three games in a row to drag himself back into it.
As in the first set, Murray lost his first service game in the second.
Ferrer went 3-0 up before Murray pulled it back to 3-3, but the home favourite kept his composure to go on and win it.
From the outset Ferrer gained the upper hand, as he broke Murray in the second game, and it took Murray until the ninth game to pull that break of serve back.
The pair stretched one another to the limit in a superb seventh game, which saw a 34-shot rally and fine winners by both players, before Ferrer edged it to go 5-2 up, only to then lose three games in a row.
Murray saved one set-point with a fine double-handed forehand winner before Ferrer won the set.
The second set began in equally close fashion, and after another hard-fought break of serve to go 2-0 up, Ferrer won the next game ominously quickly to suggest the match was slipping away from Murray.
But Murray replied in superb fashion, holding serve, breaking back and then winning a drawn-out sixth game to go level at 3-3.
However, despite Murray’s valiant battling, his dogged opponent showed great concentration and fitness, and the patience of the home crowd was rewarded when Murray put a return in the net and Ferrer won after two hours 15 minutes of fascinating tennis.
This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.