The World Championships witnessed one of the greatest set of shocks in the space of a few hours on Friday when world and Olympic champion Lin Dan, world No 1 Lee Chong Wei and highly-fancied Indian Saina Nehwal, the women's world No 2, bade their Parisfarewells.China's Lin, bidding for a record fourth world badminton title, was stunned by South Korean 13th seed Park Sung Hwan 21-13, 21-13 while top seed Lee, who had won nine of his previous 14 matches against Hidayat, lost to the former Olympic and world champion 15-21, 21-11, 12-21.
It is hard to decipher who had the most disappointing performance - Lee, the Malaysian Datuk, or Lin, one of China's top sporting superstars. The pair were touted to meet in a highly-anticipated semi-final on Saturday.Lin, also regarded as the finest player of all time, will perhaps rue his limited appearances on the world tour this year. "I was in so much of a hurry - I don't know why," he told reporters afterwards.
"Park played so patiently. I wanted to focus myself but I couldn't. Frankly speaking Park is a great player. This time I lose but it doesn't matter, because someone wins and someone loses."
Lee, meanwhile, had won six tournaments this year, including the coveted All England Championships where he was greeted by the Malaysian prime minister on his return to Kuala Lumpur, and was on a 18-match winning streak going into his last eight singles match against his Indonesian rival.
Leading 10-7 in the final game, Lee looked have the measure of Hidayat but he claimed afterwards that he then aggravated a back injury from the previous day when playing a key smash. The Malaysian won two further points.
Seeds have tumbled in the women's draw, too. Indian hopes of a medal also ended on Friday when world No 2 Saina Nehwal bowed out in the quarter-finals.
It was a disappointing outcome to a week which had promised much but in the end the 20 year-old succumbed to another of the Chinese legion of top-class players.
Wang Shixian, seeded six and quicker around the court, emerged the 21-8, 21-14 victor in a
contest that lasted just 34 minutes.
Britain's hopes ended on Wednesday when Lee beat Rajiv Ouseph, while Nathan Robertson
crashed out of both his doubles events.
The 2011 World Championships will be held in London.