Andy Murray beaten by Dominic Thiem in Barcelona Open semi-finals
World number one Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Barcelona Open at the semi-final stage after suffering a 6-2 3-6 6-4 loss to Dominic Thiem.
The Briton was broken three times in losing the first set in 34 minutes.
But although he battled back to level the match, Austrian world number nine Thiem won in two hours and 13 minutes to set up a final against Rafael Nadal.
Elsewhere, British number four Aljaz Bedene beat Serb Laslo Djere 6-2 6-4 to reach the Hungarian Open final.
Murray feels the strain
Having lost both previous meetings with Murray on hard courts, Thiem found the Spanish clay much more to his liking as he secured his first victory against a world number one.
Murray's three-set win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Friday took a minute less than three hours and he made a sluggish start in the face of Thiem's array of winners.
However, the Scot responded in determined fashion, twice staving off break points to take the second set in 48 minutes.
However, in a fluctuating deciding set, the three-time Grand Slam winner hesitated over a smash and instead sent a wild forehand way beyond the baseline, which took Thiem to match point.
The 23-year-old's impressive victory was duly completed when the Scotsman's lob drifted wide.
"In that last game, I missed a couple shots I shouldn't have," said Murray.
"It was quite windy out there and difficult to get into a rhythm but I got three matches in three days against different types of player, which will be good for me."
Bedene marches on
There was better news for Bedene, who broke twice in the opening three games of his match against world number 184 Djere.
Having wrapped up the set in 34 minutes, he then broke for a 4-3 lead in the second and completed victory in an hour and 19 minutes.
The Slovenia-born 27-year-old, world ranked 68, captured back-to-back titles on the second-tier ATP Challenger Tour earlier this month and has now won 23 of his last 24 matches.
Bedene was ranked outside the top 100 at the beginning of March but, should he win Sunday's final against world number 14 Lucas Pouille, he will likely move into the top 50 and replace Kyle Edmund as the British number two.
In the doubles semi-finals, Britain's Dom Inglot and partner Robin Haase of the Netherlands were beaten in three sets by third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia.