Simona Halep conceded she was simply outplayed by Caroline Wozniacki in Saturday's Australian Open final.
A chance to win a maiden grand slam title and the world number one ranking was on the line for both women on Rod Laver Arena, with the Dane prevailing 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4.
Halep appeared to have turned the game on its head after going 4-3 up against serve in the deciding set, having chased the WTA Finals champion for much of the contest.
However, the Romanian was unable to maintain momentum and Wozniacki duly reeled off three games in succession, securing victory on her first match point when Halep netted.
"It's not easy to talk now, but first of all I want to congratulate Caroline," Halep said at the trophy presentation.
"She played amazing all through the tournament. Many congrats also to your team, it's unbelievable. Congrats and good luck for the future.
"It's been a great tournament for me. I started not very well with an ankle injury but I just wanted to give my best every match, which I did, and I'm really happy that I could play the final again at a grand slam.
"Of course, I'm sad I could not win today but Caroline was better than me and for sure I will fight and I have many years to go so, hopefully, I will face another challenge like this today."
Halep has now lost all three of her grand slam deciders, having suffered defeats to Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko at the French Open in 2014 and 2017.
Last year saw Halep miss out on several chances to become world number one before she finally scaled the rankings at the China Open in October, and she hopes she can pull off a similar feat in grand slams.
"I would like to thank my team, each of them," she said.
"It's really tough work every day, thank you for being by my side every time and also to my family, the people that are watching at home. I'm sad that I couldn't make it the third time but maybe the fourth time will be with luck."