When Anne Keothavong can find positives from a match in which she won only two games over the course of an hour, it probably says more about what preceded her defeat to Laura Granville than it does the performance itself.
Her exit from the DFS Classic at the first-round stage yesterday cannot be viewed as another failure by a British woman on the WTA Tour. Instead it should be considered in the right context.
Nine months ago, the 21-year-old tore ligaments in her right knee and was told that she should forget about picking up a tennis racquet for the next year.
But, rather than sit back and limply accept her fate, the former British No 1, who has slipped to 238 in the world rankings and is behind Elena Baltacha, Amanda Janes and Jane O'Donoghue in the national standings, is three months into her return to the sport and is taking something from every match - including yesterday's when she lost nine games without reply.
It might not have been pretty and certainly wouldn't have done her ranking any good but when you're threatened with the prospect of having to give up the sport you love, there's a silver lining to even the darkest clouds.
She said: "One positive is I managed to finish the match and stay out there and play two sets without feeling too much pain. Last week I retired in my second-round match."
It's a fair point. She met Granville at Surbiton as well and was 6-3 and a break down when she called a halt to an affair that might have been doing more damage than it was good. There was no question of her retirement yesterday because she was feeling better than last Thursday and was confident that her travails were down to her tennis and not her body.
Enjoyment of a proper loss is another sign of the challenges she has had to face as she struggles to rediscover her form and belief on perhaps the most demanding surface on which to do it.
Because she is British the assumption is that she should embrace grass as a duck would water but when your joints ache it's probably the last thing you need.
She said: "Maybe my confidence has taken a little knock being on the grass in terms of me being a little bit more cautious with my body.
"I do feel a little tentative physically but it is something I was told would happen. There is no getting away from it or working around it, when you have had an injury like mine you don't just come back and pick up where you left off. It is not that straightforward."
The variable bounce and faster pace mean Keothavong is having to demand more from her knee than she otherwise might.
It was pointed out to her yesterday that it might have been more shrewd to seek competitive tennis elsewhere rather than put herself through the rigours of a grass court season.
She was having none of it, saying: "There is no way as a British player that you can avoid it. It is the highlight of your year playing at home in front of a home crowd.
"It is the time of year, if you can, where you want to play your best tennis so it's not even a thought to skip the grass court season. It is not an obligation, it is a highlight."
She hobbles off to Eastbourne next week and then on to Wimbledon where, despite her relative inactivity, she has been awarded one of four wild cards to British players.
She has accepted it with a clear conscience. "I feel I deserve one. Since I have been back I have been winning matches and tournaments," she said in reference to satellite events in Bath and Bolton.
"I have worked so hard to just get back as soon as I have done. I feel I deserve another crack at it. Why not? Everything will get better. I believe that will happen.
"I am not setting my goals too high but I believe I could do well."
Which could mean winning matches and not just finishing them.