By Simon Evans

MASON, Ohio (Reuters) - American Mardy Fish came back down to Earth on Saturday, losing his Cincinnati Open semi-final to Britain's Andy Murray just a day after he had beaten world number two Rafa Nadal.

World number four Murray won 6-3 7-6 and although Fish fought hard and enjoyed some loud home support, the Scotsman always had the upper hand.

Fish's victory over Nadal marked the first time the American had beaten the Spaniard but the physical effort took its toll on the American, who has risen from 108th to seventh in the world rankings in the past 16 months after losing weight and embarking on a fitness campaign.

"I'm right there," said the 28-year-old Fish, who also defeated Russia's Nikolay Davydenko and Frenchman Richard Gasquet earlier this week.

"The guy (Murray) is number four in the world. I played great yesterday and played great all week. I mean, I beat a lot of good players this week."

The California-resident believes he is a worthy top-10 player after winning in Atlanta and reaching the final in Los Angeles and the Montreal Masters last week, where he lost to world number one Novak Djokovic.

"I am just trying to solidify my spot, trying to make guys think that I belong, and trying to convince myself I belong as well," he said.

"It's been a great. Semi-finals of a huge event like this is a good result for anyone. So it's been two great weeks. I'll take two, three, four days off and regroup and get away from the court and then get back mid next week."

Fish rejected suggestions the intense schedule of the past 12 days had caught up with him physically but concded he needed a freshen-up before the final grand slam event of the year in New York.

"The tennis isn't the issue for me. It's just mentally getting away from having to come back day after day and keep playing match after match.

"It's a great problem to have, but eventually mentally you want a little bit of a break.

"I'll have that now, and that's exciting for me. You know, I've played a lot of tennis this summer."

(Editing by Julian Linden)