Beaten Andy Murray blames himself for World exit
Andy Murray can turn his attentions to the Davis Cup final after losing a winner-takes-all clash with Stan Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals.
It was a straight fight for the last semi-final spot and it is Wawrinka who will play compatriot Roger Federer in a repeat of last year's fiery encounter following a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory.
Murray recovered from a break down in the opener, but from 4-2 up in the tie-break things fell apart and the frustrated world No.2 failed to make the last four for the fourth time in six appearances at London's O2 Arena.
Intriguingly, Murray's support camp were not sat courtside, but higher up in the stands.
In an online column on Friday, the 28-year-old had talked about the "comfort blanket" of having family and friends to look at during a match.
It was a question of which Murray would turn up - the one that beat David Ferrer comfortably in his first match or the moody and out-of-sorts character that fell away so badly against Rafael Nadal?
The same could be said of Wawrinka, who faced accusations of tanking against Nadal, but recovered from a poor start to see off Ferrer.
There was also the issue of the Davis Cup next weekend. Wawrinka half-suspected it could have an effect on Murray's mental state, with the Scot having made it clear beating Belgium was his priority ahead of this tournament, but the answer came in the third game when Murray strained every sinew to reach a Wawrinka shot and somehow guide a forehand back past the Swiss.
Murray leapt in the air and pumped his fist.
Although Wawrinka saved the break point that followed and another, Murray's intentions were clear, but, switched on or not, Wawrinka remained a formidable opponent and the fourth seed was having one of his good days, pushing Murray back way behind the baseline with the ferocity of his groundstrokes.
The Scot looked favourite to take the first set when he moved 4-2 ahead in the tie-break but from there he spectacularly imploded, making errors on five successive points to hand it to Wawrinka.
Clearly unhappy, Murray had a long conversation with the supervisor at the change of ends, and his slump continued as Wawrinka broke again at the start of the second set.
The Swiss was on the verge of a third semi-final in three appearances in London when he broke again for 5-2, but Murray was not quite finished and after retrieving one of the breaks, he urged the crowd to get behind him.
The impossible seemed possible when he had two chances to get back to 5-5, but he could not take either and his 30th unforced error was one too many.
Earlier, Nadal and Ferrer played out the most competitive of dead rubbers, with the 14-time grand slam champion eventually edging a 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-4 victory after two hours and 37 minutes.