Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith saw their brave run in the mixed doubles come to an end at the quarter-final stage, with Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet progressing in straight games.
The British pair had arrived in the knockout stages on the back of three successive wins – including a 21-12 21-19 triumph over Thai third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai – that earned them top spot in Group B.
Tang and Tse – ranked five places below Ellis and Smith in the world rankings at No.13 – set the tone for a gruelling match early on, dominating the early stages of the first game before five straight points for the Brits cut their deficit to 14-13.
A strong response from the Hong Kong duo saw them claim seven straight points and subsequently the opening game however, and although the second was much tighter Ellis and Smith were ultimately unable to prevent their exit 21-13 21-18.
While overall pleased with his and Smith’s performances on sport’s greatest stage, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ellis couldn’t hide his disappointment after missing out on a semi-final spot.
“When we look back, I think we’ll be able to say that we had some very good performances,” the 31-year-old said.
“But I didn’t come here to lose in the quarter-finals. I’m not happy with losing at this stage.”
Smith – who had previously fallen at the group stage alongside Chloe Birch in the women’s doubles – was similarly frustrated that they couldn’t keep up the sort of form they’d displayed earlier in the competition.
She said: “I’m less gutted about the result and more about our performance. I don’t think we ever got the consistency, we didn’t quite nail the tactics that we like to and maybe we were off the speed of the game as well.
“That’s the most disappointing thing. If we’d gone out there and given what we thought was our best performance and we’d lost, then fair play.
“To not quite do it on the day is very disappointing. It’s been a good event for us, a good tournament, I just think they were better than us today.
“We came here to win a medal, we wanted to do that for ourselves and Team GB, for our families and everyone at home.
“We haven’t been able to do that, it is hugely disappointing and does hurt a lot. That’s sport, there’s got to be a winner and a loser, unfortunately.
“We’re not walking away from this satisfied. But we are walking away knowing that we tried our best and gave it our all.”
Earlier in Wednesday’s morning session Kirsty Gilmour saw her run in the women’s singles come to an end following her first defeat in the tournament, 21-9 21-18 to Japanese fourth seed, Akane Yamaguchi.
Gilmour, who also exited after the group stage in Rio, raced into a 4-0 lead in the first game at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza and produced some solid defence to keep the second in the balance, but the home favourite ultimately proved too strong.
Though world No.26 Gilmour, 27, convincingly defeated Pakistan’s Mahoor Shahzad 21-14 21-14 in her first clash, second place in Group L wasn’t enough to progress into the elimination round, but she believes there are plenty of positives to take from her run in Tokyo.
“Her retrieving, it’s what all the Japanese players are known for and I was ready for that. I think I coped pretty well but I’m perhaps just out of match practice in the past few weeks,” Gilmour said.
“My intentions, my intensity and my focus is always the same. There’s the same effort going into it so to be rewarded with the points in the second game is good.
“But I don’t think I played badly in the first game, she’s a very, very solid opponent and has built her career on that.
“It’s very difficult to get winning shots out of her and to force errors from here, I feel I managed that pretty well in the second game.”