HE pushed world number four Ramy Ashour all the way but in the end Chelmsford's Daryl Selby crashed out in the opening round of the British Open squash tournament on Monday.
In a tight match at London's O2 Arena the Essex right-hander was defeated by the prodigiously talented Egyptian 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 16-14.
"It was a really, really close match," he told the Chronicle.
"If I could have won the fourth game and taken it to a fifth then anything could have happened and I could have won – it would have been anybody's game. A real 50/50.
"I felt I played pretty well but it was just one of those things – what can you do?"
Selby, a former British champion, always knew the match was going to be a tough ask; as he's currently ranked outside the world's top eight the 29-year-old missed out on a seeding and was therefore at the mercy of an open draw.
"I got a very difficult opponent," he said.
"He (Ramy Ashour) has been world number one and world champion before and he beat the current world number one (James Willstrop) 3-0 in a tournament the other week.
"It was an unfortunate draw really. I would have felt that I'd have had a massive chance against anyone else and I've spoken to a lot of people who thought the match should have been a semi-final and not a first round match given the quality of squash.
"I'll be surprised if he (Ramy Ashour) doesn't go on and win this week, actually. He's probably in the best form of anyone in the world right now."
One significant crumb of comfort for Selby though is his world ranking. With the season ending after the London tournament he'll end the campaign in the number ten spot – that's as long as no shock results occur for the rest of the week.
"It was always one of my aims to finish in the top ten again," he said.
"It's difficult to know how to evaluate the season I've just had but I've been playing really well for the last three or four months."
Injuries have undoubtedly affected his progress but after finishing the year on a high – in recent weeks he's won the Grasshopper Cup in Zurich and helped England to the European Team Title – he's setting some big goals for when the new season starts in September.
"I'd like to push the top eight in the world a bit more," he said.
"I will sit down and set myself some proper goals in a few weeks but I'd also love to win the World Team Championships with England, we lost out in the final last year to Egypt."
Now he'll take two weeks off from the sport before embarking on what he describes as a 'brutal' ten-week summer training programme.