Unified pair Jang Woojin, of South Korea, and Cha Hyo Sim, from North Korea, fell short of adding a golden finish to their historic progress in the International Table Tennis Federation's World Tour Grand Finals in Incheon as they were beaten in the mixed doubles final.
No player from North Korea - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - had ever competed before in a final at the Grand Finals, and Cha must have had high hopes of surpassing that achievement today given that she and her partner had already beaten Japan's world champions and the home pairing of Lim Jonghoon and Yang Haeun.
But in their third match at the Namdong Gymnasium the second seeds could not find a way past Hong Kong's Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, who beat them 11-6, 11-8, 11-4.
That was not the only surprise on day three of the ITTF's flagship season-ending event as China's defending champion and world number one Fan Zhendong was beaten over six games in his quarter-final against 22-year-old Hugo Calderano of Brazil, making his first Grand Finals appearance.
Calderano, world-ranked 10, came through 11-6, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9.
Perhaps the effort cost the Brazilian too much, as he was beaten in the later semi-final by Japan's 15-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.
The youngster is now one step away from an extraordinary victory.
His opponent in the final will be China's Lin Gaoyuan, who earned an 11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 semi-final win over Harimoto's fellow countryman Jun Mizutani.
15 years old and in the FINAL!!! 💪💪💪— ITTF World (@ittfworld) December 15, 2018
👏👏👏 Tomokazu HARIMOTO 🇯🇵
Will he make #ITTFGrandFinals history? 🏆🤔
Four Chinese players contested the women's singles semi-finals - and Chen Meng moved to being within one step of a successful title defence as she defeated compatriot Zhu Yuling 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11, 11-3.
Her opponent in the final will be 12th-seeded He Zhuojia, making her first Grand Finals appearance, who came from two games down to beat Rio 2016 champion Ding Ning 12-14, 9-11, 19-17, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5.