Rueful Andy Murray on the slide after losing Madrid Open title to Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray lost his Madrid Open crown and relinquished his spot as World No.2 yesterday as Novak Djokovic won his fifth tour title of the year.
The Scot had set up the decider by handing home favourite Rafael Nadal a rare defeat on clay 24 hours earlier and he became the first player to take a set off Djokovic in this tournament.
However, the Serb geared up for this month's French Open - the only Grand Slam title he has not claimed - with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 success.
"Novak has had a lot of wins against me in the last couple of years unfortunately, but he has done some great things and also deserved this win," said Murray (above).
Congratulating Djokovic on "another fantastic win for him" during the post-match formalities, Murray ruefully reflected on his 23rd defeat by Djokovic in 32 matches: "There's been a lot against me, unfortunately, over the past couple of years. I would have loved to have defended the title but it wasn't to be."
Meanwhile, Heather Watson has qualified for the Italian Open following a three-set victory over Ana Konjuh.
The British No.2 won 7-5 4-6 6-3 in Rome to secure her place in the main draw.
Third qualifying seed Watson twice lost her serve in the opening three games of the final set but held her nerve to recover and beat the Croatian.