Germany trail Serbia in Dusseldorf
Five-time champion Germany fell to a first deficit of the week at the World Team Cup on Thursday when Florian Mayer lost 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 to Serb Viktor Troicki after saving four match points.
With both teams undefeated at the top of the Blue group on 2-0, the result of the two-day tie will have to wait until Friday's concluding pair of singles and a doubles rubbers.
The winner of each group advances into the Saturday final of the eight-nation event, where Germany is defending the title.
Troicki fired a dozen aces in the tight 93-minute contest, as Mayer ended with 17 unforced errors.
The German thrilled his public at the Rochusclub with his late-match retrieving before finally falling on Troicki's fifth winning chance.
"I was by far the better player in the first set," said Mayer. "It's my own fault that I didn't convert the three set points. It was bad luck, though, that he hit the line twice.
"But that's tennis. It's just a big shame, because I've been playing really well recently, it's disappointing to lose such a match."
Mayer, ranked 28th, had won three of four ATP meetings with Troicki, who improved his 2012 record to 14-13 as he levelled a 6-6 on clay.
"It will be tough for us to get through to the final," Mayer said of Friday's conclusion. "I was sure I'd win this point, especially with how I've been playing on clay.
"It's tough to lose, but I can confidently go into the French Open."
In the Red group, Ryan Harrison saved face for the United States, four-time champions, as the 20-year-old claimed the team's first singles win of the week, giving them a 1-0 lead over Japan with his defeat of Tatsuma Ito, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Go Soeda won the second singles to leave former No 1 Andy Roddick 0-3 as he heads to Paris after going down 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
James Blake and Harrison teamed in doubles to complete the only winning tie for the Americans as they defeated Tashuma Ito and Bumpei Sato in a doubles comeback 4-6, 6-0, 10-3 (match tiebreak) to insure a 2-1 result on the day.
Tomas Berdych left the Czech Republic with a 1-0 overnight lead over four-time winner Argentina after battling for two hours, 38 minute to defeat Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3.