Britain’s Jamie Murray fell short in his bid to retain the Wimbledon mixed doubles title as he and Belarusian partner Victoria Azarenka were beaten by Alexander Peya and Nicole Melichar.
Austrian Peya and American Melichar, the 11th seeds, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.
Murray, who won last year with now retired Swiss Martina Hingis, paired up at the last minute with former singles number one Azarenka.
They saved match point at 5-2 in the second set but lost in the next game.
“I didn’t really return well enough, didn’t feel I served that good either,” Murray, 32, said.
“It’s been awesome, we earned it getting to the final. It has been a lot of fun to play with Vika.”
The warning signs were there for Murray and Azarenka in the seventh game of the first set on the Belarusian’s serve, which went to seven deuces before they held on, having fended off two break points.
Peya and Melichar dominated their service games and whizzed through the tie-break, winning it when Murray double-faulted.
Murray and Azarenka missed three chances to break in the first game of the second set and were then broken in the next game as their opponents looked increasingly confident and carried their momentum on to victory.
Scot Murray had initially chosen to miss the mixed event this year to focus on the men’s doubles to protect his sore knees.
But the opportunity to partner two-time Australian Open singles champion Azarenka, 28, persuaded him to take part.
For Azarenka, who has not played as much tennis as she has wanted because of a custody battle over her 18-month-old son, it has given her extra court time after defeat in the second round of the women’s singles.
“It’s been a great two weeks. We came up a little short but we’ve produced great entertaining tennis,” said Azarenka, whose shoe had her son Leo’s name on it along with a heart.
“It’s been important for me to play in those situations where the momentum changes a lot of time and figure out a way.”
The pair have not ruled out teaming up again for mixed doubles in the future.