Chris and Gabby Adcock vowed to bounce back stronger following semi-final defeat at the All England Open Badminton Championships, in what proved to be a titanic tussle down to the very last point.
Coming into their last four clash on the back of a remarkable comeback in their quarter-final, the Adcocks took first blood against opponents Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, winning the opening game 21-19.
But the Chinese pair soon stepped up the occasion, and gave the Adcocks little share of the points in the second to prevail 21-12.
The decider was a much tighter affair, however, with Lu and Huang taking control after a neck-and-neck battle for the opening points.
The Adcocks soon reined them back in though, before they suffered a major blow on match point when a string on Chris’ racket snapped – a moment that swung the momentum in their challengers’ favour and allowed them to take the win.
But while the pain of defeat will remain raw for a few days, the Adcocks are determined to focus on the positives.
“We came out really strong and took a really tight first game. We were really good and we were really happy with it,” said Chris.
“We then dropped our level a little bit and the Chinese played really well in the second game.
“We were quite far down so decided to rebuild our mentality for the third, which we did. We came out well, but they got a bit of a lead.
“We came right back to get ourselves to match point. We really dug deep to get that and we can be proud of it. It’s devastating to lose when we were so close.”
More than 6,000 fans packed out Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena to watch the Adcocks in action, spurring them on from start to finish.
And while the week didn’t end the way they had hoped, the married couple – ranked seventh in the world – insist the home support had made it a tournament to remember.
“The crowd have been fantastic all week, I really feel that they have really followed our journey from juniors through to here,” said Gabby.
“They’ve followed us year in, year out, and followed our progression.
“Each year, the All England support gets better and better, so we’ve got a lot to thank them for and helping us be resilient out there on court.
“We don’t want to let anyone down, so when we are fighting back, it’s for the guys who are supporting us. They are amazing.”
The world's best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England (7-12 March)
For tickets, TV schedule results & reaction: allenglandbadminton.com