Andy Murray complained he has been failing to take his chances but said his clay season was "going in the right direction" following the failure of his latest bid for a maiden title on his least favoured surface.
Murray lost 7-6 6-4 to Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Friday but will at least have the consolation of climbing above Roger Federer to number two in the world when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Federer's third-round defeat by Kei Nishikori means the Swiss failed to defend the points he racked up by winning the Madrid title last year and Murray will regain the number two spot he held for three weeks last month.
The Scot next heads to this week's Masters event in Rome as he continues his build-up to the French Open starting in Paris later this month.
"I need to do a better job of taking my chances," he told a news conference after the Berdych defeat.
"I didn't convert too many opportunities the whole week really," added the 25-year-old.
"I managed to dig out the last couple of the matches and wasn't obviously able to do that tonight."
Murray said he was more satisfied with his performance at the Masters event in the Spanish capital than his efforts at the Monte Carlo Masters last month, when he lost to Federer's compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round.
"This week was better than Monte Carlo so it's going in the right direction," he said.
"Tomas is a very good claycourt player. And, yeah, it was a close match. I had my chances," he added.
"I think I'm playing okay. Some things I would like to do better but I did play very well in practice in the build-up to this tournament.
"I played a lot of sets with a lot of tough players and I played very well.
"So that's a good sign. In Rome, the next couple of days I'll get a better feel for how I'm playing."