Japan's Kei Nishikori felt he could have won against Borna Coric but he fell short as the Croatian won 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) to reach the Rotterdam semifinal.
Nishikori claimed the first break of the match but he failed to hold on to his serve as Coric forced a tie-break, which he won to take a tight opener.
Nishikori recovered from a break down in the second set to force a tie-break but Coric once again came up big in the tie-break to seal a straight-set win.
''Today I felt like I could win, last couple of matches (1R & 2R) were good, so I had high expectations for myself and wanted to win too much, that made me a bit tense up to make UEs especially in the 1st set tiebreake,'' Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
''I couldn't go for it because of that, was mentally not in a good form. For the 2nd set, he was playing better. Today I tensed up a bit more than last two matches.''
Nishikori happy with his level
Nishikori earned his first win of the season after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Rotterdam first round.
The Japanese then stunned Alex de Minaur, before losing to Coric.
''I played some matches in a row for the first time in a while, I was feeling a bit heavy today, didn't play at best on defense and made easy mistakes. My shoulder is fine, I think it should be OK next week,'' Nishikori added.
I think I could have stepped forward more often in today's match and especially in the match ersus de Minaur. I still can't move forward spontaneously, I'm discussing about the issue with my coach. I feel like I can have more opportunities to finish point earlier.
''I'm getting more confidence, but not 100% yet, sometimes I still hesitate (to take a full swing). It was not great today, but last two matches were good, if I can keep playing matches like them, I keep getting better. Hopefully this week will be a springboard.
''Finally I've started feeling like I can compete with players like Novak or Rafa to some extent. In Australia, I played Medvedev and I felt like it would be difficult to compete with top players, I hardly had a picture of that, but I think I've got some confidence this week"