Saina Nehwal's hopes of defending her Singapore Open crown were dashed by Chinese Taipei's Shao Chieh Cheng in a thrilling three-game pre-quarter-final in Singapore City on Thursday.
The fourth seeded Indian blew the advantage of winning the first game and suffered a 21-8, 10-21, 19-21 defeat against the world No 10 in a match that lasted 52 minutes.
The 21-year-old from Hyderabad had won the Singapore Super Series in June last year but was unable to come up with something special on this occasion.
The world No 4 Indian, who was knocked out of the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold last week in the quarter-finals, relied on her power-packed smashes but the Chinese Taipei girl beat her at the net repeatedly.
Saina was at her dominating best in the first game, but allowed little leeway in the second.
The decider was a see-saw battle but Saina blew a narrow two-point lead at 14-12, Shao scoring six straight points before breaking away at 19 to clinch the issue.
Saina will now look to defending her title in the Djarum Indonesia Open.