World number one Viktor Axelsen checked into the semi-finals of the Malaysia Masters after upstaging Indonesia's promising youngster Jonatan Christie 21-15, 19-21, 21-12 on Friday.
The 24-year-old top seeded Dane dominated the first game and easily won 21-15 with powerful overhead smashes.
Christie stormed back to win the second game 21-19 with a gutsy display but Axelsen was a class above in the decider to win 21-12 in a 66-minute triumph.
Axelsen later told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that he was not at his best.
"I haven't prepared well for this after the Dubai SuperSeries Finals (in December). So I'm just trying to do the best I can," he said.
Axelsen will play Malaysia's Liew Daren in the semi-finals on Saturday and is widely expected to win a spot in the finals.
Axelsen also joined a chorus of players to express his displeasure at the tournament's new ruling requiring them to compete in more events.
"I think we should be able to choose what we want to play, otherwise it will be like this where all the top seeds are out after the first round," he said.
Other top guns such as Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Chen Long had all criticised the new tournament structure which required the shuttlers to compete in more events.
The players must now take part in 12 tournaments a year, two more than previously.
World number two Lee had said he was prepared to pay a penalty for skipping an event if he felt the need to.
In the women's singles, Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying set up a mouthwatering showdown against Spain's Carolina Marin after she beat China's Chen Yufei 21-18, 21-15.
The Malaysia Masters runs until Sunday.
Results (x denotes seeding):
Viktor Axelsen (DEN x1) bt Jonatan Cristie (INA) 21-15, 19-21, 21-12
Kenta Nishimoto (JPN) bt Angus Ng Ka-long (HKG x7) 18-21, 21-19, 21-16
Tai Tzu-ying (TPEx1) bt Chen Yufei (CHNx8) 21-18, 21-15
Carolina Marin (ESPx4) bt Lee Ying Ying (MAS) 21-17, 21-16
Lee Soo-Hee/Shin Seung-Chan (KOR x5) bt Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (JPN x2) 22-24, 22-20, 21-14
Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN x5) bt Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (CHN x2) 21-16, 21-16