Singapore's top paddler Feng Tianwei began her campaign at the Asian Cup on a shaky note, losing two of her three round-robin matches on Thursday.
The world No. 7, the top-ranked player in Group C, beat Japan's world No. 8 Kasumi Ishikawa 3-0, but failed to find a way past her two other opponents in Wuhan, China.
Feng was beaten 3-1 by both South Korea's No. 19 Seok Hajung and North Korean Ri Myong Sun (No. 32). She had previously never lost to Seok in five encounters on the International Table Tennis Federation professional circuit.
The results mean Feng will now have to play Japan's Sayaka Hirano (No. 25) on Friday to earn a place in the quarter-finals.
Team-mate Yu Mengyu, meanwhile, booked a spot in the last eight after finishing second in Group B. The world No. 23 was no match for world No. 3 and Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia, losing 0-3 and also lost out 2-3 in a tight contest with Hong Kong's No. 14 Jiang Huajun. But her 3-1 victory over Chinese Taipei's No. 30 Cheng I Ching, who upset Jiang, was sufficient to earn Yu a place in the knockout stages.
In the men's singles, world No. 14 Gao Ning's also failed to make it into the quarter-finals after losing 1-3 to China's Fan Zhengdong (No. 3) and 0-3 to Chinese Taipei's Chen Chien-an (No. 20). He had beaten No. 21 Tang Peng of Hong Kong 3-2.
The Asian Cup is the national team's final tune-up before the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo at the end of next month.