Andy Murray conceded he failed to cope with a resurgent David Ferrer as he lost out to the Spaniard in the third round of the Shanghai Masters to deal a blow to his ATP World Tour Finals hopes.
Murray was looking to gain vital ranking points in his bid to secure one of the top eight qualifying spots for the season-ending event in London in November.
And he made an impressive start, losing just four points on his serve to take the first set 6-2.
However Ferrer found his rhythm in the second and third sets with Murray winning just three of a possible 18 points on his second serve as his World Tour Finals rival took the match 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
It means Ferrer now moves ahead of Murray in the rankings into ninth, just 35 points behind eight-placed Milos Raonic.
And Murray, who is aiming to qualify for the World Tour Finals for the seventh straight year, conceded his opponent had deserved the victory.
"He barely missed a ball for about a set and a half," said Murray. "I couldn't find a way around him. He played just great tennis, especially the last set and a half.
"At the beginning of the second set I still had a couple of opportunities there right at the beginning. But after that, I've got to give it to him, he played fantastically well and deserved to win.
“We'll see over the next few days where I decide to go. Hopefully I can play well the last couple of tournaments, to try and make a push for London."
© Sportsbeat 2014