Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann's Tokyo Olympics fate is no longer in their hands after the Australian beach volleyballers endured another tough afternoon on the sand.
McHugh and Schumann went down to Russian pair Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov 21-14 21-16 at Shiokaze Park on Monday for their second straight loss.
They will now need to beat Spain on Wednesday and hope other results go their way to be any chance of progressing as one of the two best third-ranked teams.
It was fitting the match ended with Semenov producing a monster block, the 210cm Russian a dominant figure at the net that the Australians struggled to subdue.
McHugh produced plenty of power in the first set with a number of defining spikes, but every time the Australians mounted a charge they produced an error, coming up with 18 for the match.
A tense first set was neck-and-neck and locked at 12-all before the Russians won nine of the next 11 points - a run which including a service fault and net touch for the Aussies.
The Russians opened an early lead in the second as Semenov mixed guile with strength at the net.
Australia's depleted confidence levels were on show when they let a relatively soft Semevov serve drop in without making an attempt at the ball to give Russia a 14-8 lead.
Australian Associated Press