Andy Murray's first ATP final since 2019 ended in a 6-3 6-3 defeat to Aslan Karatsev at the Sydney International.
The Russian's strong forehand caused Murray all sorts of problems in the first set, with the three-time Grand Slam winner seeing his serve broken in the first game before a batch of double faults gave Karatsev the upper hand.
Murray finished the first set with four double faults, while Karatsev's 14 winners helped him take a 6-3 win into the second set before the Russian claimed another break in game two.
With Karatsev 5-3 up in the second set, Murray saved two Championship points to level to deuce, but the Russian moved to advantage before a long shot from Murray proved costly.
"I'd like to thank my team who are here for all of their help. First time back in a final for three years - it's been a long road but I couldn't have done it without all of your help," Murray said during his on-court interview.
"It's my first time in Sydney and everyone did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed it. What an amazing atmosphere to play in. I've really missed playing these sorts of matches, unfortunately the result didn't go my way but I'll keep trying."
Karatsev's Sydney International win represents his third ATP singles title, and Murray will now turn his attention to Tuesday's Australian Open first-round meeting with Nikoloz Basilashvili.