KUALA LUMPUR: Eogene Ewe bade farewell to the junior badminton scene on a sour note after being sent packing in the second round of the World Junior Championships in Spokane, United States yesterday.
The 18-year-old failed to live up to the billing as the second seed when he was beaten 21-17, 21-17 by India's Ayush Shetty in the last-64 stage.
The defeat was certainly hard to take especially since it came just a few days after Eogene had triumphed over Shetty in the quarter-finals of the mixed team event, where Malaysia won 3-0.
To be fair to Eogene, it was definitely not an easy draw when he needed to go up against a player of Ayush calibre.
A two-time Indian national junior champion, Ayush boasts some top achievements including being the semi-finalist of the German Junior Open, a top-tier tournament on the world junior circuit and had also recently reached the Maldives International Series, a senior tournament.
It was not the first time that an early round jinx had struck the top national boys' singles shuttler.
Last year, Justin Hoh also headed to Santander, Spain with plenty of optimism after being seeded third, but he could only reach the last 16.
With Eogene's exit, the team will now pin their hopes on Faiq Haziq to salvage something. Faiq progressed after battling to a 21-12, 18-21, 21-13 win against Hong Kong's Lam Ka To.
All eyes will also be on the promising Ong Xin Yee in the girls' singles as the seventh seed thumped Anja Rumpold of Austria 21-7, 21-15 to advance into the third round.
Xin Yee was also involved in the girls' doubles with Carmen Ting, and they proved too strong for Australia's Sydney Tjonadi-Isabella Yan by notching a 21-13, 21-9 win.
Siti Zulaikha Azmi's campaign ended early after being defeated by China's Huang Lin Ran 21-17, 21-10.
In the boys' doubles, both the Malaysian pairs, Bryan Jeremy Goonting-Aaron Tai and Kang Khai Xing-Low Han Chen, sealed their places in the next round.
Bryan Jeremy Goonting-Aaron Tai survived a stern test from Indonesia's Zidane Efendi-Kleopas Prakaso before winning 19-21, 21-13, 21-19, while Khai Xing-Han Chen overcame Austria's Edzus Meirans-Richards Zugs 21-4, 21-8.
Girls' pair Chan Wen Tse-Chong Jie Yu also made it through with relative ease, triumphing 21-7, 21-12 over Dania Nugroho-Catrina Tan of Australia.
Malaysia will continue to be represented by as many as three pairs in the mixed doubles with Han Chen-Jie Yu, Khai Xing-Carmen, Bryan-Wen Tse all having little trouble ousting their European competitors.
Han Chen-Jie Yu outplayed Pascal Cheng-Chlara Rudolf of Austria 21-9, 21-9, Khai Xing-Carmen powered past Casper Spaans-Florine Wille of the Netherlands 21-6, 21-8, while Bryan-Wen Tse dispatched Vid Koscak-Anja Blazina of Slovenia 21-8, 21-13.