Leander Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy's chances of making the knockout stage of the ATP World Tour Finals' doubles event suffered a jolt after they were handed a straight-set defeat by debutants Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach in their opening Group B match in London.
The fourth-seeded Indo-Czech pair went down 3-6 6-7 (3) to the sixth seeded Polish-Austrian rivals in their opening match and will now be up against second seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of Unites States, who also started their campaign on a disappointing note, losing 4-6 4-6 to seventh seeds Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram.
In a 92-minute contest, both the teams fought hard with many players taking body blows - including one in the throat for the 36-year-old Paes.
But in the end, it was the sixth seeds who came out on top, having saved five of six threats on their serve and converted two of the four break points they created.
Dlouhy was targetted by Kubot and Marach in the tie-break and a barrage of shots from the back saw the Czech player break down at the net to give the Polish-Austrian duo a 6-3 lead. The sixth seeds then converted their first match point as Dlouhy returned the serve long.