Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie both suffered disappointing quarter-final exits at the Shenzhen Open on Friday.
He was beaten by Fernando Verdasco for the second time in the space of a month having earlier crashed out to the veteran Spaniard at the US Open.
The Scot, who recorded a promising win over top seed David Goffin in the last 16, was broken three times as he fell 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes.
Nevertheless Murray will leave Shenzhen relatively pleased with his week’s work having beaten top seed David Goffin in arguably his most notable scalp since his return from a hip injury.
However, the scot has pulled out of next week’s China Open due to a slight ankle issue and will now focus on his rehabilitation before the 2019 season.
Andy Murray speaks
“When he had his opportunities, he played well,” said Murray. “First set I had quite a few chances. Didn’t take them; He was very aggressive from the back of the court and didn’t make too many mistakes so he deserved the second set.”
He added: “It was another three matches which is positive. But obviously, I want to play better than that. I have higher ambitions than losing in the quarter-finals. I want to try to be better in these events.
“I need to spend more time on the practice court and the gym so that I’m more robust and physically in better shape. Right now, I feel like as the week goes on, I’m slowing down a little bit.”
Britain’s Norrie was beaten 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 by Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in their last-eight clash.
Britain’s world No 73 had scored one of his career-best wins over world No 18 Borna Coric to set up his clash with Nishioka.
But he was broken twice in the second set and ultimately undone by a player ranked 98 places beneath him in the world rankings.
In the other ties, Australian youngster Alex de Minaur defeated Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6 (9-7), while Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert edged Albert Ramos of Spain 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.
Alex de Minaur, the Australian 19-year-old, will meet Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the other semi-final.