Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith saw their hopes of Yonex All England glory dashed as they were beaten in the semi-finals by Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti.
The world No.12 mixed doubles pairing had been on a thrilling run to the last four in Birmingham, knocking out the world No.4 and No.10 duos but falling just short over three games against the fifth seeds.
The Indonesian pair raced into a 1-0 lead after taking the first game 21-15, before Ellis and Smith restored parity with a brilliant 23-21 win in the second.
But it wasn’t to be in the decider as Jordan and Oktavianti were too strong for the home favourites, triumphing 21-11 to book their place in Sunday’s final.
And while it thwarted the English duo’s - who stormed to Thailand Masters glory in January - ambitions of becoming the first home winners of the prestigious competition for 15 years, they remained upbeat in the face of defeat.
The honour is all ours. What an unbelievable tournament for @ellis_marcus111 & @LaurenE_Smith. We’ve been through all the emotions with you - an inspiring week and an unforgettable demonstration of English badminton at its best.— Badminton England (@BadmintonEnglnd) March 14, 2020
You’ve done us all so immensely proud 🏴#YAE20 pic.twitter.com/pg2fY8gKfH
“I think we’ve definitely shown in Thailand and this week that we can beat the best in the world,” Smith said.
“We’re beating top ten pairs and we’re starting to do it with a little bit more consistency.
“There are still dips in there and there are still things to work on, but I do feel like we’re going in the right direction.
“It’s just because we’re so driven and so determined - we both train really, really hard and that’s just starting to pay off.
“Hopefully this won’t be the last time we’re in the semi-final here and hopefully we can go on better.
“We’re disappointed at the moment, but we’ll look back and we’ll learn from it and we’ll make sure we try and become even better from this week.”
Ellis and Smith were roared on by a raucous Arena Birmingham Saturday night crowd, using their momentum to come from behind in the second game and clinch a pulsating win to level the scores.
But they were overpowered in the deciding third, as Jordan and Oktavianti showed exactly why they stand as reigning French and Denmark Open champions.
There was a moment of controversy in the opening game as Jordan was booked for slow play, prompting complaints from the frustrated English pair.
But despite his protestations, Ellis insisted what happened played no role in the result.
“I think he was just trying to be a little bit cheeky and slow the game down,” he said.
“Everyone know he’s one of the most dangerous players from the rear court - he’s got unbelievable power and unbelievable skill.
“It’s just how they want to play, and we get so frustrated about it because we want it to be a good game.
“But that’s why they’re ranked wherever they’re ranked in the world - they’ve won so many Super Series events this year and that is why.
“They can dictate the match how they want it to be played.”
Despite the last four loss it was still a great week for the English hopefuls, who built on their recent success in Thailand to gain valuable ranking points heading into this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Elsewhere on semi-final Saturday, there were also wins for Viktor Axelsen and Chou Tien-chen in the men’s singles to tee up a first versus second seed final, while Chen Yufei will bid to defend her 2019 title against Tai Tzu-ying on Sunday.
Du Yue and Li Yinhui shocked Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan to progress to the women’s doubles final where they will meet third seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, while men’s doubles world No.1s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo are still on the hunt for their third Yonex All England title and will play Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe.
And after their victory over Ellis and Smith, Jordan and Oktavianti will play third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the mixed doubles final.
Witness Legends Begin at the 2020 Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at Arena Birmingham between March 11-15. Secure your tickets at https://www.allenglandbadminton.com/ today.