Serena Williams and sister Venus were unable to advance past the first round of the doubles at the US Open, going down 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 against Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova on Thursday.
It was the Williams' first doubles match at a grand slam since the 2018 French Open, and their first at the US Open since 2014, less than 24 hours after Serena's stunning upset of world number two Anett Kontaveit.
Leading 5-4 in the first set, the sisters had two opportunities to break and secure the first set, but ultimately let them slip, before going down in a competitive tiebreaker.
They were far from outclassed, winning 48 per cent (49-of-102) of the points in the opening set, and 45 per cent (33-of-74) in the second.
After going down 3-0 in the second frame, instead of rolling over, the Williams sisters fought back, pulling it back to 4-4, but that would be their last stand before dropping the next two games and the match.
There was no on-court interview for the Americans, although 17-year-old Noskova called it "a special moment" and said "I was really lucky" for the opportunity to play against her heroes.
Serena will continue her singles campaign in the third round on Saturday night against unseeded Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.