Major upsets at the ongoing World Badminton Championships here show that world rankings and recent tournament titles are no guarantee of success.
Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia is a prime example, after being bounced from the tournament Wednesday by little-known Anup Sridhar of India.
Taufik's shock defeat has raised questions about his future. But the 2005 world champion is far from the only big-name casualty here.
On Thursday world No. 3 Lee Choong Wei of Malaysia lost to ninth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia, disappointing a home crowd that has been waiting for about 30 years for a world title.
Both Taufik and Lee Choong Wei lost on court 4, sparking speculation the court may be jinxed.
The court 4 jinx continued with the defeat of women's singles defending champion Xie Xingfang of China, who was knocked out by local player Wong Mei Chow.
Sony, who played his match Friday on the court, defeated Peter Gade of Denmark 22-20, 21-18 to make the semifinals.
"All world-class players are now basically at the same level in terms of skill and experience," he said. "China, Denmark, South Korea and other countries all have good players. We win some, we lose some.
"Only those who play smart and who bring all of their skills to the court will win."
Most the giant-killers were delighted, but not overjoyed.
Wong called her surprise victory an "OK performance".
"I am still only half-way through the tournament. There are still tough players ahead," she said.
And, for the upset victims, they were mostly philosophical.
"This is just not my day. I lost today, but I'll come back soon," said Lee.
Gade voiced a similar sentiment.
"I'm still hungry and highly motivated," he said, adding he remains committed to pursuing an Olympic gold medal next year. -- JP