The Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna squandered two match-points before losing to Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen in their opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals, in London, on Tuesday.
The Indians, making their debut as a pair in the elite season-ending event, lost their Group B match 6-4, 7-6(1), 10-12 in 96 minutes.
Bhupathi-Bopanna are coming into the top-8 team event after winning the Paris Masters last week.
The fifth seed Indian pair will now have to win their last two Group B matches to keep themselves in the semi-finals race.
Bhupathi-Bopanna rallied well against the British-Denmark combination after losing the first set, and even had two match-points in the Super tie-breaker, but could not cash in on them.
Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek, seeded third in Group A, open their campaign against Paris Masters finalists and seventh seeds Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Dutch Jean-Julien Rojer.