Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Olympic men's singles champion Chen Long crashed out of the All-England Open on Friday when he was beaten by his Chinese team-mate Shi Yuqi in the quarter-finals.
Apart from a brief spell in the second game when the fourth-seeded Chen turned a three-point deficit to a 16-15 lead, he rarely looked like winning during his 21-10, 21-17 loss.
Chen has twice won the All-England Open and spent 18 months as world number one prior to his gold medal triumph in Rio.
However, the 29-year-old seemed uninspired by the ambience of the famous tournament, allowing a nimble, younger and more enthusiastic colleague chances to get the better of net exchanges.
"I am happy that whoever wins this match will go to the semi-finals for Team China," Chen said.
"Mostly we have played in China but this was obviously very different here in England."
It was actually the seventh-seeded Shi's first win against Chen in five attempts on the world tour.
"I often train with him and we are friends, but every time we played before he won. This time I managed to do it. I will try to do better than last year."
Shi was referring to his loss to Lee Chong Wei, the veteran Malaysian, in last year's final.
To finally take the trophy this time he will have to get past a semi-final with either Son Wan Ho, the fifth-seed from Korea or Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.
Lee was due to play Chen Long, the former Olympic champion from China, in a quarter-final in the other half of the draw.
Earlier, the top-seeded titleholder in the women's singles, Tai Tzu Ying, from Taiwan, won 21-12, 21-13 against Japanese youngster Aya Ohori.
Tai shot into an 8-1 lead in only five minutes, perhaps because the inexperienced Ohori found it harder to cope with the rising tension during an hour and a half's wait for the previous match on court to finish.
Ohori made a sequences of errors but played better in the second game, by which time Tai was often at her most dangerous, producing sudden, hard-to-read winners.