PARIS: National men's doubles pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani can already kiss goodbye to their World Tour Finals qualification hopes after another early exit at the French Open.
On Thursday, world No 10 Sze Fei-Izzuddin fought valiantly before going down 21-18, 19-21, 21-17 to Indonesian All-England champions Bagas Maulana-Muhammad Shobihul Fikri in the last-16.
But a spirited display alone would not hide the fact that they have flopped in Europe, after having exited the Denmark Open in the first round last week.
Sze Fei-Izzuddin would pay a heavy price for these two lacklustre results as they are projected to drop out of the top eight from their current sixth position in the season-long Race to Guangzhou standings next week.
With points still up for grabs in next week's Hylo Open (Nov 1-6) in Germany and Australia Open (Nov 15-20), they still stand a mathematical chance to make the cut for the lucrative US$1.5mil (RM7.08mil) season-ending event in Guangzhou from Dec 14-18.
But for Sze Fei-Izzuddin to qualify, they face a tall order of not only returning into the top-eight, but also finishing ahead of compatriots Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, who jumped from fifth to third thanks to their semi-final run in Odense last week.
Each country is only allowed to enter two players or pairs in each of the five categories for the Guangzhou Finals.
By virtue of being world champions this year, Aaron-Wooi Yik are already assured of a place regardless of their position in the points race.
With Yew Sin-Ee Yi still in contention in Paris, even BA of Malaysia (BAM) doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky admitted that it's all but over for Sze Fei-Izzuddin.
"I don't think they stand a chance to qualify (for the World Tour Finals)," Rexy conceded.
"I'm obviously disappointed. Sze Fei and Izzuddin should have done a lot better because being a world top-10 pair, there's no reason why they can't go far in the Super 750 and Super 1000 tournaments."
Rexy has hinted that Sze Fei-Izzuddin may be withdrawn from the Hylo Open.
"Since they are unlikely to make the cut (for Guangzhou), it's probably better for them to come back to train and prepare for next year's tournaments," he said.
"I will discuss with (coach Tan) Bin Shen before coming up with a decision."
Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun's elimination in the other last-16 clash on Thursday summed up a bad week for the BAM men's doubles department which saw Aaron-Wooi Yik also getting ousted in the first round.
Wei Chong-Kai Wun found Commonwealth Games champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India too hot to handle and lost 21-16, 21-14.
Malaysia's challenge in the mixed doubles also came to an end after Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing were beaten 21-12, 14-21, 21-15 by Japan's Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo.
SECOND-ROUND RESULTS (Malaysians only)
Men's doubles: Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Mas) bt Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin (Ina) 21-18, 17-21, 22-20; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (Mas) 21-16, 21-14; Muhammad Shobihul Fikri-Bagas Maulana (Ina) bt Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (Mas) 21-18, 19-21, 21-17;
Women's doubles: Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (Mas) bt Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma-Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi 21-16, 21-14;
Mixed doubles: Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo (Jpn) bt Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-12, 14-21, 21-15.