Hafiz was a huge letdown, losing 19-21, 11-21 to top seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
Former All-England champion Hafiz used to beat Tien Minh at will at one time but it looks like the good times are over for the Malaysian.
National coach Hendrawan tried to put a positive spin to Hafiz’s defeat, saying the shuttler had more than one enemy to contend with.
“He could not control the shuttle. It was fast and the strong draught in the stadium did not help. This led Hafiz playing to the rhythm set by Tien Minh,” Hendrawan said in a telephone interview.