Canada's Daniel Nestor and partner Max Mirnyi failed to advance to the Madrid Open doubles final Saturday as the world's No. 1 team were defeated by Poland's Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 12-10.
The semifinal defeat in two hours was the second victory for the fourth-seeded challengers in Spain against the top-seeded Nestor team.
Fyrstenberg and Matkowski defeated Toronto's Nestor and Mirnyi from Belarus in the Barcelona quarter-finals two weeks ago.
The loss was the first since Nestor and Mirnyi took over the top ATP ranking at the start of the week.
"It was a tough loss, we had our chances but didn't manage to take them," said Nestor. "Max and I fought hard but they were too good.
"It's tough to lose to these guys twice in just a few weeks — and both times in Spain. We need to lift next week for Rome if we want to be ready for the French Open."
Nestor and Mirnyi were unable to close out the semifinal against their Polish opponents after the teams split the first two sets and took the match into the tiebreak third.
Nestor and Mirnyi won seven consecutive points in the final set, moving from 1-4 to 8-4 before their opponents rallied to earn a match point leading 9-8. The first team to 10 points by a margin of two wins the tiebreak set.
The pair saved that winning chance, missed on one of their own and were finally sent out as the Poles converted on their second match point.
Nestor, 39, has won in Madrid on four occasions, taking the 2002, 2004 and 2005 titles with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and lifting the trophy in 2009 with Nenad Zimonjic. He and the Serb played the 2010 final, losing to Americans Bob and Mike Bryan.