In the absence of Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund was doing an admirable job of carrying the British flag at the US Open.
The 22-year-old Yorkshireman had marched through his opening two matches at Flushing Meadows with a couple of straight set victories, however - in his third round match with teenager Denis Shapovalov - injury struck at the worst possible time.
Edmund was forced to retire when trailing 3-6 6-3 6-3 1-0 on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, after appearing to jar his upper back while serving at the start of the third set.
“Ultimately I knew that for me to win two more sets the way I was feeling was not going to be possible," said a subdued Edmund after the match.
"It is annoying that it ends this way but it's just part and parcel of this sport, that you're going to get injured sometimes. It's disappointing."
Shapovalov shines again
Even so, the unfortunate nature of the result should not detract from the buoyant tyro, Shapovalov, who will meet 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round.
The 18-year-old from Canada has been one of the stories of the tournament, after defeating eighth seed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the second round, and was beginning to take control of the match before Edmund’s injury.
"It's never good to win this way, I hope it's not too serious,” voiced Shapovalov during his on-court interview
"In one game he hit a second serve and I heard him grunt like he had hurt something and he called the trainer. It's very unfortunate but I am happy to be in the fourth round."
Remarkably, Shapovalov, who is playing in only his second Grand Slam event, is now one of the favourites to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw - which was left wide-open following Marin Cilic’s defeat to Diego Schwartzman.
Fast start from Edmund
Edmund had played the Canadian twice before, with the most memorable meeting coming in the Davis Cup back in February when Shapovalov was disqualified for unintentionally hitting a ball at the umpire.
The teenager has improved significantly since then, though, and beat Edmund on the grass at the Queen's Club in June.
However, in the biggest tennis stadium in the world, it was Edmund who made a more assured start, racing into a 3-0.
In the early stages, Shapovalov’s flashy groundstrokes were misfiring, and despite drawing level at 3-3, Edmund closed out the opener in 35 minutes.
However, the Canadian raised his game at the start of the second, as his exciting baseline game began to flow.
Pain too much to bear
Shapovalov breached Edmund’s serve in the fourth game of the second and maintained his advantage to level the match at a set apeace.
At 2-2 in the third, Edmund grabbed the back of his neck after hitting a serve and, despite holding the game, took a medical timeout at the next changeover.
Shapovalov then won the next four games with relative ease to claim the set, and, despite receiving more treatment, the pain was too much for Edmund to continue.