Jack Draper’s breakthrough run at the US Open came to an end in the fourth round after a four-set defeat by Russian Andrey Rublev.
The British number four, in the second week of a grand slam for the first time, fell 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 to eighth seed Rublev.
But Draper’s performances this week will hopefully point to an upward curve in such a promising career hindered by fitness issues.
The 21-year-old has endured an injury-hit year and slipped from a ranking of 38, in January, to outside the top 100.
A shoulder problem saw him miss Wimbledon and also threatened his participation at Flushing Meadows.
Yet despite serving well within himself in a bid to manage the problem, Draper was the only British player to reach the last 16, and he gave combustible Russian Rublev plenty of reasons to vent his spleen in a see-saw contest.
Draper took time to settle as the first set raced away from him; Rublev does not only serve at 125mph but he seems to play at that pace as well.
He then had to save five break points, punctuating the rallies with complaints to the umpire about the air-conditioning under the Louis Armstrong Stadium roof and the net sensor, to stay on serve at 2-1 in the second.
Then, from out of nowhere at 3-2, Draper cracked a backhand winner down the line to end a fierce rally and bring up break point.
Rublev promptly sent down a double-fault, and was visibly furious with himself, as he gifted Draper a 4-2 lead and, consequently, the second set.
With Rublev now the agitated party, Draper took advantage and broke again at the start of the third with a walloping forehand winner, only to follow it up with a poor service game to let his opponent back in.
The momentum was back with Rublev and he won six of the next seven games to motor away with the third set.
Draper had never won a four-set match until he beat Michael Mmoh on Saturday, and his exertions – as well as his lack of court time this year – seemed to have caught up with him in the fourth.
Rublev took advantage of a weary service game to lead 3-2 and, although Draper saved two match points on serve, and another on his opponent’s, he was unable to avoid slipping to defeat in two hours and 45 minutes.