Lee Zii Jia's quest to win the Malaysia Open men's singles title will go unfulfilled for another year, after he was upset by Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the round of 16 on Thursday (30 June).
The world No.5 was locked in a tight tussle with his world No.26 opponent for over an hour, but faded despite leading 14-8 in the final game, allowing Rhustavito to claim a 21-19, 19-21, 21-16 victory in 67 minutes at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Lee, 24, had been in fine form in recent months, winning the Badminton Asia Championships and the Thailand Open last month and reaching the semi-finals of the prestigious Indonesia Open two weeks ago.
He had easily defeated Ireland's Nhat Nguyen in the opening round of 32 on Wednesday. Had he defeated Rhustavito, he would have set up a mouth-watering clash with former world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan.
There was better news for the local fans in the men's doubles competition, as two Malaysian pairs went through to the quarter-finals.
World No.10 pair Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi took 41 minutes to defeat fourth-ranked Taiwanese pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin 21-17, 21-18.
Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzudin, on the other hand, advanced after being given a walkover as their world No.8 opponents Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India withdrew.
In the women's doubles, Ann Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing caused a huge upset, when the world No.44 duo stunned South Korea's world No.2 pair of Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan 18-21, 21-12, 21-15 in 54 minutes.