Nathan Robertson's hopes of ending his stellar career on a high at London 2012 look over after a damaging defeat at the European Championships.
The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and partner Jenny Wallwork were edged out by their British rivals Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier in a quarter-final thriller in Karslkrona, Sweden.
The result means Adcock and Bankier, ranked 10 in the world, are now likely to be selected to represent Great Britain in the mixed doubles this summer at the expense of Robertson and Wallwork.
With Team GB to be determined by the world rankings of May 3, 34-year-old Robertson and 25-year-old Wallwork, who are 20th, are all but out of time to close the gap.
Robertson, whose past successes with Gail Emms brought him national attention, had planned to bow out in style with his new partner Wallwork in London but their ranking has fallen away over the past year.
But while one of Britain's greatest-ever players now contemplates an earlier-than-planned retirement, the Anglo-Scottish duo of Adcock and Bankier can almost start preparing for their first Olympics.
The pair's exuberant performances since coming together as a pairing early last year - not least with their run to the World Championship final last August - have given the British game a shot in the arm.
But they were made to work for their success as Robertson and Wallwork went down fighting. Adcock and Bankier dropped the first game and were a match-point down in the decider before eventually prevailing 18-21 21-19 22-20 in 66 minutes.
Adcock wrapped up a brilliant day's work by securing another medal as he and Andy Ellis won through the men's doubles semi-finals. The sixth-seeded pair, who also hope to play together at the Olympics, saw off German third seeds Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schoettler 21-17 16-21 21-19 in 62 minutes.
Mariana Agathangelou and Heather Olver saw their hopes in the women's doubles ended by a 20-22 21-16 21-13 loss to Valeri Sorokina and Nina Vislova of Russia.