NATHAN Robertson's hopes of a first Super Series final of the season came grinding to a halt on Friday as he crashed out of the men's and mixed doubles quarter finals at the Proton Malaysia Open.
The former Olympic silver medallist and Anthony Clark battled bravely against Malaysian top seeds Koo Kean Keat and Tan Boon Heong before being edged out 21-12, 23-25, 21-11.
The Malaysians dominated the opener and never looked like losing the first game after racing to an early 4-0 lead.
But the English pair, who reached the semi-finals in Kuala Lumpur 12 months ago before going on to lift the title in Singapore, fought their way back into the match and came out on top of a rollercoaster second game in which they had to fend off a match point at 23-22.
Clark and Robertson stood toe-to-toe with the favourites early on in the decider but after a string of six consecutive points, Tan and Koo took the score to 14-6 and there was no way back for the English champions.
Robertson and partner Jenny Wallwork were less competitive in their mixed doubles defeat to Denmark's world champions Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, eventually going down 21-11, 23-21.
The Danish pair, who beat Robertson and Wallwork in the second round of last season's Singapore Super Series, strolled through the first game but found the English a different prospect in the second game.
After fending off two match points at 20-18, Robertson and Wallwork threatened to take the match to a decider as they took a 21-20 lead.
But the Danes held their nerve and streamed through the next three points to claim the win.