Malaysia's Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship campaign ended in the quarter-finals after a 3-2 defeat to defending champions China in a match-up that lasted six hours at the Dubai Exhibition Centre on Friday.
The defeat summed up an overwhelming campaign from the national contingent, who also fell short of the semi-finals target set by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
Malaysia took the lead first through Lee Zii Jia, who finally notched a much needed 21-16, 22-20 victory over Lei Lan Xi, ranked almost 100 spots behind him on the world rankings.
Goh Jin Wei was reinstated into line-up after being rested against India, and the two-time world junior champion gave it all she got against Gao Fang Jie, but lost 21-15, 13-21, 19-21 in a 69-minute contest.
Despite the loss, credit must be given to Goh who slumped to the court in sheer exhaustion towards the end, but still fought valiantly to push her opponent to the wire.
China took the lead thought recent Indonesia Masters runners-up He Ji Ting-Zhao Hao Dong, who brushed off Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi in straight games 24-22, 21-18.
Their defeat meant Malaysia's hopes of staying alive depended on Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah, who needed to beat Liu Sheng Shu-Tan Ning.
The French Open winners, who were disappointing in their defeat against India, made amends to beat the Chinese pair 21-17, 12-21, 21-19.
They showed strong character to keep the Chinese at bay, especially in the deciding game when when Liu-Tan rallied strongly to try and force a deuce.
But Tan-Thinaah's efforts were undone when Feng Yan Zhe-Huang Dong Ping beat Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing 21-15, 25-23 in a winner-takes-all deciding match.