Daryl Selby and Alister Walker, two of the closest-ranked players battling against each other in the first round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, duly produced the longest match on day one of the sixth PSA World Series event of the year to entertain a packed crowd at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.
Englishman Selby, the world No10 and highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw, dropped the first game to former England team-mate Walker, the world No12 who now represents Botswana, the country of his birth.
But Selby (pictured in action with Walker) turned things round to open up a 2/1 lead before Walker fought back to draw level. And in the dramatic decider, it was the higher-ranked Englishman who ultimately prevailed, winning 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 in 95 minutes.
"Brutal match in Hong Kong first round against my good friend @alisterWALKER," tweeted 30-year-old Selby later. "Proper battle and lucky to win it in the end. #toughdraw."
The marathon match made a significant impact on the drawn out schedule of the day - which eventually came to a close after 12.30am when the fourth match lasting more than an hour finished, Malaysian Ong Beng Hee earning a 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 victory in 75 minutes over Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
The win sees Beng Hee, the 32-year-old former world No7 from Penang who made his debut in the event 12 years ago, secure a place in the second round for the first time in four years.
Selby led a trio of Englishmen through to the last 16 round. Fellow Essex man Peter Barker, the sixth seed, had to fight back from a game down to overcome Egyptian qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6.
Later, defending champion James Willstrop, the world number one from Leeds, also had to recover from the loss of the first game before seeing off England team-mate Adrian Grant 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 in 73 minutes.
Australian number one Cameron Pilley was taken the full distance by qualifier before beating the Englishman 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8 after 82 minutes.
Like his fellow first round winners, the world No17 from New South Wales will relish the day's break before having to face Barker for a place in the quarter-finals.
1st round (top half of draw):
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (73m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (75m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (50m)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-5, 14-12 (38m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (44m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8 (82m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (95m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (34m)