British No.1 Andy Murray went down in straight sets to Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Berdych, the sixth seed, was in impressive form during a 6-3 6-4 victory that earns him a last-four showdown with either Rafael Nadal.
Wimbledon champion Murray, gearing up for US Open title defence, matched his Czech opponent as serve dominated in the early stages.
But Berdych earned the first break in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead and then produced a love hold to close out the opening set.
Murray had triple break point in the second game of the second set but failed to convert and then surrendered his own delivery in the next after four deuces.
And Murray, despite sending down 10 aces compared to his opponent's two, could not find a way back and Berdych served out the win in an hour and 33 minutes.
"The things that I really need to do well - serving, returning, moving - that was good," said Murray.
"But I'll need to work on my groundstrokes a bit, make sure I'm not making too many mistakes going into the US Open.
"Today when I had my opportunities, I didn't take them. That was the problem today."