Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar's giant-killing act came to an abrupt end. The Indian duo squandered a one-game lead and succumbed to the third seeded Indonesian pair of Markis Kidos and Hendra Setiawan 21-18, 9-21, 11-21 in the doubles quarter-finals of the badminton competition at the Asian Games in Doha on Thursday.
The Indian duo's loss thus ended hopes for a badminton medal, as no men or women could advance beyond the last 16 in the singles.
The unseeded Indians had raised hopes of a podium finish after registering an upset 26-24, 21-17 victory over seventh seeds Albertus Susanto and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama of Hong Kong in the pre-quarter-finals.
They began the quarter-final match with a flourish and took early 5-1 lead. But their formidable opponents tightened their game and both sides were locked 12-12 and then 16-16. But from then on, the Indians raced ahead to take the first game 21-18 in 11 minutes.
The one-game advantage saw Indian fans smell another upset win and a semi-final berth. But the formidable Indonesian pair had other plans and silenced the Indian fans by winning the second game 21-9 in seven minutes.
The writing was on the wall for the Indians then, but they made a last-ditched effort and levelled at 6-6.
But that was all they could do and the Indonesians did not waste much time and took the third game in eight minutes and wrapped up the match.
Earlier in the Round 16 match, Sanave and Rupesh sent the seventh seeded Hong Kong pair of Albertus Susanto and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama packing with a straight games victory.
They matched their more fancied rivals stroke for stroke in the first game and raced to a 20-17 lead. But the Hong Kong pair stormed back to level the score 20-20. The Indians then saved three game points to take the first game in 16 minutes.
In the second game also, the Indians dominated and dictated terms from a position of strength by reaching 20-15. Though the Hong Kong pair won three consecutive points and threatened to level the score once again, the Indians stopped them in time to win the game 21-17 in 10 minutes and wrapped up the match.
Another Indian doubles duo of V Diju and JBS Vidyadhar went down tamely to second seeded Korean pair of Jae Sung Jung and Yong Dae Lee in straight games.
The Indians trailed most of the time and lost 16-21, 14-21 in 20 minutes.
Earlier in the women's singles, Indian medal prospect Saina Nehwal failed to make it to the last eight stage, losing to fifth seeded Eriko Hirose of Japan 23-25, 7-21 in the pre-quarter-finals late Wednesday night.
Saina, ranked 27 in the world, frittered away an early lead to lose the first game on deuce and then lost her way to surrender the second game to her world number 14 opponent in a 34-minute duel.
It was also the same story for the Indian men as none could make it to the quarter-finals.
National champion Anup Sridhar fought a grim battle against sixth seeded Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand but lost 17-21, 21-19, 16-21 in a 53-minute thrilling battle last night.
But the biggest disappointment was the pre-quarter-final loss of Chetan Anand to Lee Hyun of South Korea. The highest ranking Indian caved in without a fight, losing 6-21, 9-21 in just 18 minutes.