Andy Murray missed out on a second ATP Tour title when he lost the Legg Mason Classic final to Arnaud Clement.
Murray unravelled in the second set
The 19-year-old Scot, seeded eight, was twice a break up in the first set but ended up losing it in a tiebreak.
Murray, who called for the trainer in the second set, then went off the boil as Frenchman Clement broke twice.
The 11th seed went on to win 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 to inflict Murray's first defeat under coach Brad Gilbert, although the Briton moved up to 31 in the rankings.
Despite breaking in the opening game of the match, Murray never looked comfortable in the sapping 90-degree heat in Washington and was troubled by a blister on his right hand.
The blister on my hand was quite difficult for me but it definitely wasn't the reason I lost
His 28-year-old opponent, who had beaten Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin on his way to the final, started slowly but once he settled into a rhythm, Clement always looked the more likely to win.
Murray called the trainer out after going 2-0 down in the second set but refused to blame his defeat on the discomfort he was feeling.
"I never had a blister before and I don't like to play with tape on my hands," he said. "When the blisters burst, it was hard to hold my racket.
"It was quite difficult for me but it definitely wasn't the reason I lost. I played a very good player. He had a great tournament."
Murray rallied briefly at the end of the second set and had two break points when Clement served for the match at 5-2.
But the Frenchman saved them both and clinched the championship on his first match point for the fourth title of his career - but the first outside of his native country.
Despite the disappointment of losing the final, Murray had a successful first week with Gilbert, not dropping a set until meeting Clement and the American coach was upbeat about his new charge.
"Clement raised his game and Andy was a little bothered by the blisters," said Gilbert.
"I'm pleased overall but a little disappointed with today. Hopefully it won't linger."