Michelle Perry's quest to become the first woman in history to secure a hat-trick of World championship 100m hurdles titles is in tatters after she finished a distant seventh in heat three.
The American was carrying an injury coming into the championships and the portents did not look good as she arrived on the start line with heavy strapping on her right knee.
Perry ambled gingerly out of the blocks and was simply never at the races, stopping the clock in 13.68. She then limped off the track with a rueful grin, perhaps knowing in her heart of hearts it was a gamble she was not going to win.
Ahead of her Olympic silver medallist Sally McLellan got away to her customary lightning start and won easing down in 12.82. Former World Indoor 60m hurdles champion Derval O'Rourke of Ireland set a season's best of 12.86 for second with Russia's Yuliya Kondakova also posting a season's best of 12.88 in third. All three return for tomorrow's semi-finals.
The fastest qualifier was Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, who galloped to victory in heat four in a slick 12.57. The Canadian was level after three hurdles with Virginia Powell before impressively pulling clear. Powell, of the USA, crossed the line second in a handy 12.77 with Turkish record holder Nevin Yanit third in 12.92.
Olympic champion Dawn Harper was an eye-catching winner of heat one, taking victory from the inside lane one in a seemingly effortless 12.70. Just behind and finishing strongly was the two-time World Championship hurdles medallist Deloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica, who looked similarly impressive in 12.73. Nigeria's Olutoyin Augustus also advanced to tomorrow night's semi-finals, finishing third in 12.99.
Damu Cherry recovered from a sluggish start to blitz to victory in heat two in 12.71.
The 31-year-old US athlete has been in superb form this season after victories in Berlin and Oslo the first two ÅF Golden League meetings earlier this season and should be a real medal contender.
Lacena Golding Clarke of Jamaica was quickest out of the blocks but had to settle for second in 12.90. German Carolin Nytra raised the decibel level inside the Olympic Stadium by qualifying third in 13.03.
Jamaica's Brigitte Foster-Hylton has won bronze and silver medals in this event in the past and she started her quest to land a so far elusive World gold medal an impressive winner of heat five in 12.67. The 2003 World champion Perdita Felicien of Canada wound up second in 12.77 - 0.05 clear of Cuba's Anay Tejeda, who placed third.
Steve Landells for the IAAF