Maria Sharapova's first senior tournament on Russian soil ended in disappointment as she lost to Dinara Safina in the Kremlin Cup quarters.
The top seed staged a superb fightback in the third set, recovering from 5-1 down to 5-5, but Safina won the next two games for a 1-6 6-4 7-5 victory.
Sharapova won the first set in just 31 minutes but Safina clawed her way back.
Safina said: "She didn't give me a thing at the start. I almost cried - I didn't want to lose a match like that."
Sharapova insisted she had played better than her previous match but was full of admiration for her opponent.
"Safina was playing very good as I expected," she said.
"When I was trailing 5-1 in the last set I just relaxed and played my tennis. But in the deciding moment I lost my chance and failed to win."
Elsewhere in the draw, Mary Pierce fought back from 0-6 down in the final-set tie-break to beat Elena Likhovtseva 7-5 4-6 7-6 (8-6).
"At 6-0 up, Elena looked nervous," said third seed Pierce.
"She started to play short and I received easy balls. If she played in the match the way she played a tiebreaker, I could have won match 6-0, 6-0.
"Maybe she was waiting for my mistake. But I just capitalised on those opportunities she gave me."
Italy's Francesca Schiavone continued her good form, following up a win over Amelie Mauresmo by beating eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-1.