Andy Murray missed out on his first Masters final, losing 6-2 7-5 to Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Toronto.
Murray's world ranking will leap despite the defeat
The Briton played an error-strewn first set in the semi-final, dropping two service games as Gasquet demonstrated delicate touch and deadly power.
The second set was closer, Murray raising his game, while perhaps relying too heavily on drop shots.
But Gasquet won a series of superb net points, as both men thrilled the crowd with their improvisation and reflexes.
"I'm definitely not disappointed about this week," said Murray, who also reached the final in Washington last Sunday.
"I obviously could have played a little better today, but I've had two really good weeks.
I served well, it was the key to the match
"I'm going to be inside the top 25 now. I'm going to get a seeding at the US Open. I've got a lot of things to be happy about."
Murray, 19, stood to enter the world's top 20 with a win on Saturday but he ran into another in-form youngster only one year his senior.
Showing signs of fatigue after a tough week, Murray succumbed to the patience and shotmaking of Gasquet, who had already reached a Masters final in his brief career.
Once again, Murray was hampered by a faltering first serve, which meant that most of his service games were keenly contested with few easy points won.
Gasquet, meanwhile, made lighter work of his service, varying the pace and direction to keep his opponent guessing.
Murray guessed well on occasion, but fired tamely into the net too often as he tried in vain to grab a break.
It's a quick service action, so it's tough to read when he's going to hit the ball
And, serving second, the pressure finally told, Murray surrendering game and match after an hour and a half.
"I had a lot of confidence, I wanted to win and I played a good match," said Gasquet, who will be bidding for his third title of the season against world number one Roger Federer, who beat Chile's Fernando Gonzalez later on Saturday.
"I served well, it was the key to the match. I had a lot of pressure in the second set because I had the chance to get to the final but to win it 7-5 was great for me."
Murray said he had had trouble reading Gasquet's serve.
"He has got a pretty quick action, and it's not like there's a huge, huge wind-up. He is not that tall either, doesn't look like he is putting that much effort into it but he times it really well.
"It's a quick action, so it's tough to read when he's going to hit the ball.
"Most guys have a slightly higher throw-up and knee bend. He just hits it out of his hand. You know, he serves pretty accurately as well, so it makes it tough to return.
"Against a lot of players, they can hit big serves, but it will be right in your striking zone. Against him, he might not hit it as hard as some, but he gets it away."