The French pair of Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement rallied past the top-ranked twins 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to cut the Americans' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five competition.
The Bryans had been 14-1 in Davis Cup play and 5-0 in clinching situations, but they couldn't secure a spot for the U.S. in the semifinals against Spain. Llodra and Clement raised their record to 4-2 against the Bryans, keeping the French alive for today's reverse singles.
"These guys are human. You see them? They're human," U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said.
A day after Andy Roddick and James Blake put the U.S. in command with singles wins, the Bryans wasted a chance to pass John McEnroe and Peter Fleming as the winningest U.S. Davis Cup doubles team.
Today, Roddick will open against Paul-Henri Mathieu or perhaps Richard Gasquet if he's recovered from a blister on his right hand and a sore knee. Blake plays the final match, tentatively against Llodra.
Similar to their win over the Bryans in last year's Wimbledon final, Llodra and Clement were the aggressors on the quick indoor hard court, coming to the net often in an entertaining match that included many quick volleys.
Clement's forehand winner down the line broke Mike Bryan in the seventh game of the fourth set. Two games later, Llodra served it out on a day when the French never lost serve.
- In Bremen, Germany, the Spanish team of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner 6-7, (3), 7-6 (1), 6-4, 2-6, 12-10.
The clinching match lasted 4 hours, 45 minutes.
- In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Argentines went up 2-1 when David Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas beat Jonas Bjorkman and Robert Lindstedt 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. Argentina has won 11 consecutive Davis Cup series at home since 1998.
The winner plays Russia or the Czech Republic in the semifinals.
- In Moscow, Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev rallied past Radek Stepanek and Pavel Vizner 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 to put Russia ahead of the Czechs 2-1.
BAUSCH & LOMB: In Amelia Island, Fla., Lindsay Davenport withdrew from the Bausch & Lomb Championships because of fever and aches before her semifinal against Maria Sharapova.
In today's final, Sharapova will play Dominika Cibulkova, an 18-year-old Slovakian who reached her first WTA final. Cibulkova defeated Alize Cornet 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
FEDERER GETS HELP : Roger Federer could be in the market for a new coach in a bid to get out of his 2008 funk.
Jose Higueras, who used to coach Jim Courier and Sergio Bruguera and also worked with Pete Sampras and Jennifer Capriati, will be alongside the top-ranked Federer at this week's Estoril Open in Lisbon, Portugal.
Higueras, who won 16 ATP titles and represented Spain in the Davis Cup, coached Michael Chang to his 1989 French Open title.