Andy Murray says he is not unduly concerned by his form despite being eliminated from the Japan Open after losing to Jiri Novak, of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 7-6 in the second round in Tokyo yesterday.
The Scot, after a first-round bye, was opposing 31-year-old Novak for the first time.
The Czech easily won the first set and raced into a 4-1 lead in the second but Murray rallied to 6-6. However, Novak ended the 19-year-old's brave fightback to win the set 7-6.
Murray will concentrate on progressing in the doubles event along with his brother Jamie, after the pair defeated Eric Butorac and Travis Parrott 7-5, 6-3 on Tuesday.
Murray took the defeat on the chin but defended his form, having been knocked out of the Thailand Open by veteran compatriot Tim Henman last week.
He said: "Every young player goes through a patch where he's not playing well.
"You can't expect to get to the semi-finals every week unless you're Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. They are the only two who can do it. I wasn't looking that far ahead. It's not like I lost to bad players.
"Henman has been at the top of the game for a long time. Novak was No 5 in the world (in 2002). I did well to fight back into the match but unfortunately I couldn't quite turn it around."
Federer, in Murray's half of the draw, reached the third round by beating Viktor Troicki, of Serbia, a player 275 places below him in the rankings, 7-6, 7-6.
The world No 1, in his first singles event since the United States Open, next plays titleholder Wesley Moodie, the 13th-seeded South African who beat Stefan Koubek, of Austria, 6-3, 6-4. n Russian Elena Dementieva, the third seed, needed three hours to beat Katarina Srebotnik, of Slovenia, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, after falling to the ground with an injury to her left leg in the Stuttgart grand prix tournament yesterday. Andy Murray shows his frustration before losing to Jiri Novak