Leander Paes and Martin Damm's dream of clinching the ATP Tennis Masters Cup seemed to go up in smoke as they suffered their second straight loss in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday.
The Indo-Czech pair went down fighting 2-6 7-6 (4) 6-7 (5) to America's Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, in their second Red Group match.
The US Open champions had earlier lost 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 3-6 to Australian Paul Hanley and Zimbabwe's Kevin Ullyett on Sunday.
Paes and Damm will now have to defeat Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel and rely on results from other matches of the third and final round on Thursday to go through to the semifinals of the year-end championships.
Hanley and Ullyett have more or less clinched one of the two last-four berths from the group with their 6-4 6-4 win over Erlich and Ram on Tuesday.
They need to win a set against the Bryans to seal their last-four spot.
The Bryans, who had lost to the Israeli pair, would book the other spot if they win without dropping a set.
Erlich and Ram also have a chance if they win against Paes and Damm without dropping a set.
The top eight teams on the ATP Tour rankings divided into two groups compete in the championships.