Great Britain saw their hopes of securing a place in the Fed Cup World Group II ended after slipping to a 3-1 defeat against Argentina.
The loss was confirmed when Elena Baltacha was beaten in three sets by Maria Irigoyen, with British No 1 Laura Robson also having been defeated in three earlier in the day.
It means Judy Murray's team must once again return to the Euro/Africa group and attempt to secure qualification again next year.
Britain headed into the day tied after 1-1 after the first round of matches and would have been optimistic of their chances with 38th ranked Robson facing world number 143 Paula Ormaechea.
However, the Argentines proved more comfortable on the clay surface in Buenos Aires and, although Robson put up a fight by taking the second set to level, went on to claim a 6-4 4-6 6-2 victory to put the hosts in charge.
That meant that Britain's hopes rested on the shoulders of experienced 29-year-old Baltacha who was selected ahead of rookie Johanna Konta despite the fact she has only just returned from a nine-month injury lay-off.
On paper Baltacha, a former top-50 player, appeared to be more than match for 202-ranked Irigoyen, but unforced errors would ultimately prove costly as she surrendered the first set 7-5.
The Scot hit back to force a decider, but rather ran out of steam in the third and eventually went down to a 7-5 3-6 6-1 reverse to condemn the visitors to overall defeat.