World number one Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China crashed out of the world badminton championships here on Friday, bowing to Malaysia's Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah 21-15, 18-21, 19-21 in the men's doubles quarter-finals.
Cai/Fu had a perfect start in the opening game. After a 2-2 tie, the top seeds led the way and never looked back to close out 21-15. They enjoyed the biggest margin of nine points at 14-5.
Since the second, Choong and Lee, sixth seeds, changed their tactics to contain Chinese pair's smashes and net drop shots. The two sides leveled seven times at 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 9-9, 12-12, 13-13, 18-18. From then on the Malaysian duo earned three points in a row to end the game.
In the third, Cai/Fu had trailed until they equaled 14-14 and led at 18-14. Then Chong and Lee reversed the situation to wrap up the match 21-19, cheered on by a raucous home crowd.
"We played them twice and won both. Their tactics made us very uncomfortable but we didn't expect the match so tough," Cai said.
Fu said: "We played well in the first game but they have changed their tactics in the second and restrained us."
"Actually we played well in the last two games but it's not our lucky place," added Cai.
Fu said he regretted the loss.
"We are defending champions and we are here to keep the title. It's a great disappointment."
However, Fu regarded the worlds a step of their preparation for the Olympics Games.
"We will do our utmost in the following Opens (to win more Olympic points)," Fu said.
Choong said their tactics worked well.
"Actually we have 50 to 50 odds to beat, but after an easy loss in the first game we tried to change in the second," said Choong.
"We wanted to win more badly especially before our home crowd," said Lee, who has paired with Choong to enter seven world championships.
"The reason why we won at last is we didn't give up even when we trailed 14-18 in the decider. However, the Chinese duo had too much pressure as they are champion favorites," added Choong.