Lee Zii Jia might have to go back to basics after a poor showing sent him packing out of the Toyota Thailand Open as he suffered a 21-18, 25-27, 19-21 defeat to Sameer Verma in the opening round on Tuesday.
The defeat was shocking for the Malaysian, who looked set to book his place in the next round when he held a 17-6 lead in the second set, having won the opener 21-18.
After squandering the advantage and seven match points to lose the second game 25-27, Lee’s body language massively dropped and Verma led all the way in the decider to win 21-19.
The Indian later conceded he was nursing an ankle injury late in the second game, but still managed to muster a mammoth comeback against his opponent.
The first round exit also means Lee, who could only muster a “I tried my best” after the loss, is now in jeopardy of not making the backdated World Tour Finals next week.
Lee was also far from his best in the straight-set defeat to Chou Tien-chen in the quarter-finals of the Yonex Thailand Open last week.
Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin and Soniia Cheah also exited the tournament, while the rest of the national contingent all progressed to the next round.
Last week’s beaten men’s doubles finalist Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong did not have to break too much sweat after Lee Yong Dae hurt his leg and had to concede a walkover with Kim Gi-jung.
Goh-Tan play Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh-Kittinupong Kedren next.
Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi beat Thais Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Tanupat Viriyangkura 19-21, 21-13, 21-19 to set up a clash against Danes Mathias Christiansen-Niclas Nohr.
Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik also beat their Thai opponents 21-10, 21-18 to face rising Indonesian stars Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin next.
In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying overcame Germany's Jones Ralfy Jansen-Kilasu Ostermeyer 21-13, 21-13 to march into the next round.
They were joined by Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai, who have a chance to avenge last week's loss against top seeds and Yonex Thailand Open winners Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
In the women's singles, S. Kisona was imperious in her 21-10 21-7 victory against Egypt’s Doha Hany to book a meeting with sixth seed P. V. Sindhu.
Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen, who made the last 16 of the women’s doubles with a straight game win over English pair Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith, take on French pair Emilie Lefel-Anne Tran next.