Rajiv Ouseph expressed disappointment in the immediate aftermath of defeat but then insisted there were positives to take after losing in three sets to Lin Dan at the Worlds.
The European Champion saw his World Championships ended by the five-time World and six-time YONEX All England champion but will take great heart from the levels to which he pushed a player dubbed ‘the greatest ever’.
Like Denmark’s Emil Holst before him, Ouseph took Lin Dan to three ends, winning the first 21-14 with a performance that carried all the hallmarks, style and momentum from yesterday’s impressive victory over Sameer Verma.
England’s number one was never behind in that opening end, opening up a sizeable winning margin at 11-7 then 18-13 with clever movement and transitions.
His pace and variation, especially in the opening exchanges of the fixture, were unsettling, something the Chinese superstar made reference to in his post-match assessment to the media.
But ultimately, and in exacting vain as Holst, Lin Dan found a winning rhythm to draw level with a 21-17 second game win and completed the comeback - his own endurance and fitness in long rallies throughout the 82 minute encounter defying his 33 years - winning 21-16 in the decider.
“I thought I had been playing well and yesterday Lin Dan was pushed hard so I knew I had a chance today if I played well,” Ouseph said. “It was good to play so well in the first set, especially on such a big stage as well so I am happy with that.
"It was just a problem of not maintaining it for two or three sets.
"Of course, I am disappointed not to push Lin Dan further in the end, but there are positives."
Ouseph is indeed right to see the positives. Taking a first ever game off Lin Dan will have been a career milestone achieved. He had previously never won more than 14 points against his rival in three previous attempts. This time he scored consistently in the first two rounds before the experience from 86 career finals played its own part.
“It will probably look good for me if he wins the whole Championships,” Ouseph added. “He’s obviously a great player.”
Ouseph’s exit means England’s 37 year wait for a men’s singles quarter final at the World Championships – since Ray Stevens , Jakarta 1980 - continues to roll on whilst Lin Dan remains in contention for a sixth world title.