KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Big names tumbled freely on a day of extraordinary action at the world badminton championships on Thursday.
Malaysia's pride and joy Lee Chong Wei, seeded two, was soundly beaten by ninth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 21-11 21-9 in the third round and third seed Chen Jin of China lost to Singapore's Ronny Susilo 21-19 21-14.
There was also a big shock in the women's singles in which champion Xie Xingfang, winner in 2005 and 2006, went down 21-10 21-8 to Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo.
Wong's victory was some consolation to the home contingent, still awaiting a first world title since the inaugural tournament in 1977 and hugely disappointed at Lee's swift exit.
Thursday's upsets followed the stunning departure on Wednesday of Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, who lost in three sets to unseeded Indian Anup Sridhar.
It was left to top seed and defending champion Lin Dan of China to restore some order as he proceeded to Friday's quarter-finals with a 21-18 21-17 victory over Dutchman Dicky Palyama.
Lin's compatriots Bao Chunlai, seeded four, and Chen Yu (6) also progressed to the last eight, along with Sridhar who provided another disappointment for the home fans when he beat Malaysia's Hafiz Hashim 21-19 18-21 21-15.
The Danish duo of Peter Gade (5) and Kenneth Jonassen (7) also secured their appointed places.
Lee, generally effective on home territory, had been widely expected at least to match his seeding and reach the final but he failed to produce the goods.
Sony told reporters: "It's not necessarily my biggest win but it helps me mentally prepare for what is ahead. The strategy was not to allow him to attack. Lee is not comfortable with that."
Tenth-seed Wong followed Lee on court and played probably the game of her life. "I just focused and focused," she told reporters. "I didn't think of what had happened, I just went out there to do my best."
Men's third seed Chen Jin had been in action very late on Wednesday in a second round game against Malaysia's Roslin Hashim and expressed unhappiness at returning to court early afternoon the next day.
Susilo, seeded 11, said the quick turnround had probably been a factor in the Chinese player's loss but added: "I have prepared very well for this tournament and I think I played at my best."
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Susilo famously beat world number one Lin in the opening round of the badminton tournament but he has rarely hit the heights since.
While Xie suffered the loss of her crown, there were no such problems for top seed Zhang Ning in her third round game with Indonesia's Maria Kristin Yulianti.
The 32-year-old Olympic champion brushed her opponent aside 21-10 21-9 and now looks a good bet to regain the title she last won in 2003.
Malaysia's other big hopes for gold, the men's doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, later beat the Polish duo of Michael Logosz and Robert Mateusiak 21-17 21-19 to keep hopes alive of an end to the country's world badminton drought.