Novak Djokovic quit with shoulder pain on Sunday to lose only his second match this season, as Andy Murray won the Cincinnati Masters 6-4, 3-0 over the ailing world number one.
Djokovic, who has won 57 matches and nine titles in 2011, will now have a week to rest before the start of the US Open.
The Serb lasted only 71 minutes on court, quitting moments before a downpour drenched players and spectators and put the start of the women’s final in doubt.
Djokovic said the shoulder problem has worsened over the last week or so.
“I was quite exhausted playing many matches, but the exhaustion is not the reason. I just could not serve. I served an average 90 miles per hour the first serve. I could have maybe played another couple of games, but what for?” he asked.
“It’s unfortunate that I had to finish this way. I really tried.
It didn’t make sense for me to continue. The good thing is that there is a week — eight days — to the start of the US Open. So I think that’s enough time for me to get ready.
“I cannot beat a player like Murray today with one stroke. But I’m confident that I can recover and be ready for the US Open.” Murray, winner of the title over Djokovic in 2008, claimed his second trophy of the season following Queen’s club in June in London.
Trailing 0—3 in the second set, Djokovic walked to the sidelines and shook hands with precise timing as the skies opened moments later.
Murray’s win was his seventh Masters 1000 title and left him 2—1 in finals this season. He improved to 18—9 in finals.
Djokovic exited after compiling a 57—2 record with nine titles so far in 2011.
Murray lifted his career mark against the Serb to 4—6. Murray had complained of hamstring pain during his Saturday semi—final win over Mardy Fish but showed no signs of physical problems in the final.
Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic were due to play for the women’s title, weather permitting.