Former title winner Peter Gade of Denmark proved the highest profile loser on a marathon day's play at the All England championships which ended in the early hours of Thursday morning, nearly 17 hours after the first shuttle was struck.
Observers and media struggled to recall a later finish in a major tournament and there was criticism from fourth seed Gade after his three-game loss to English champion Rajiv Ouseph.
The duo started their match 70 minutes past midnight with Ouseph triumphing 17-21 21-16 21-14 to claim what could be regarded as the biggest win of his career.
Gade, 35, All England champion in 1999, said: "No matter how crazy it sounds we sort of expected this could happen because we saw the way they planned the tournament. Thirty-five minutes for each game, that's impossible.
"It speaks for itself. It should not be possible this could happen at a big tournament."
He added: "When people ask why are we not in the same league as tennis and golf this is why. It would never happen in golf, it would never happen in tennis. It's not a professional way for the players or the spectators."
When the last point was won in a women's singles match involving China's world number two Wang Xin, there were around 20 people watching. Wang also bowed out in a contest that lasted just 31 minutes, beaten 21-8 21-13 by South Korean Sung Ji-hyun.
It was a sad end to Gade's long and distinguished All England career. He had been struggling with a foot injury which cast doubt whether he would be able to play the match but Ouseph was a worthy winner.
The Dane is retiring in the next year after playing just a couple more tournaments following the Olympics.
He said: "I had a good feeling (earlier) but this was not my dream. I have so many good memories here and to finish off beaten in the first round at 0220 is not what I had hoped."
Organisers had attempted to stage 80 matches on the four courts with the final game estimated to start at 2120 but were undone by a glut of three-set matches, one lasting one hour and 27 minutes.
Big names like titleholder Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan started their matches very late into the evening with the Chinese finishing after midnight.
But at least they made it safely through on a day that will live long in the memory, too long perhaps.
Lee, the Malaysian world number one, beat unseeded Chinese Wang Zhengming 21-16 21-11 to line up a match with talented Dane Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
The Malaysian is seeking a third All England title in a row but as ever he will need to get past his old nemesis Lin, the Olympic and world champion.
Lin, four-times an All England winner, kicked off his quest for a fifth title with a victory over India's Ajay Jayaram, the Chinese winning 21-18 21-15.
Lin's compatriot Chen Long, seeded three, was stretched for a time by Tommy Sugiarto, son of 1983 world champion Icuk Sugiarto, but the Indonesian had to retire hurt with an injured foot with the scores level at one set apiece.
It was possibly a relief for Chen who was beaten by Guatemalan outsider Kevin Cordon in the first round of the world championships at Wembley Arena last August.
Cordon could not repeat his giant-killing in Birmingham, beaten 25-23 21-17 by ex-Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
Home fans who stayed until nearly midnight were rewarded when unseeded mixed doubles duo Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier downed world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 16-21 21-19 21-19.
It was sweet revenge for the Britons, who had lost to the Chinese in the world championships final at Wembley in August. The victory prompted a euphoric Adcock to race half way round the hall, arms aloft.
He told reporters: "Imogen is so amazingly good at the net so that is always the plan. When she's serving and playing with touch at the net there's not many girls in the world, if any, that can rival her."