Lee Zii Jia put on a herculean effort against Viktor Axelsen in the Indonesia Open semis but fell agonisingly short against the Dane who won 19-21, 21-11, 23-21 in 70 minutes.
Axelsen proved to be an elusive man to take down as he continued to brush away his competition in the men's singles.
The Olympic champion entered the Saturday showdown barely being troubled in recent times.
However, Lee gave the Dane, won the Indonesia Masters comfortably last week without dropping a game, his toughest encounter at the Istora Senayan Stadium.
The Malaysian led after winning the first game, where he staved off Axelsen who kept close with only a two point deficit throughout.
The tournament's defending champion then comfortably won the second game as Lee looked to preserve energy for the third.
The decider was expectedly close as both shuttlers did not give much away, until deuce before Axelsen forced the issue for the big win.
He would next contest a second consecutive final against Zhao Jun Peng or H.S. Prannoy.
Malaysia's challenge at the Indonesia Open ended following Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik's defeat.
The fifth seeds looked void of ideas and surrendered meekly to Liu Yu Chen-Ou Xuan Yi 18-21, 13-21.
Chia-Soh could count themselves lucky to reach the semis, only managing to do so after Yeremia Erich injured his knee when the Malaysians faced him and Pramudya Kusumawardana in the last eight on Friday.