Bernard Tomic saved his best serve for his own teammate Nick Kyrgios as Australia crashed out of the Davis Cup with his loss to American John Isner.
Tomic fell to Isner in the first of the reverse singles 6-4 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-4), unable to peg back a slow start on the Kooyong grass.
The result gave the United States an unassailable lead in their World Group first-round tie and a berth in the quarter-finals.
Tomic barely raised a whimper in the opening two sets and fired a salve at absent teammate Kyrgios during a changeover.
While he has having his wrist strapped during the second set, Tomic was heard by courtside microphones muttering to Australian team captain Lleyton Hewitt: “Nick’s sitting down in Canberra. Bulls*** he’s sick.
“Two times Nick’s done it”.
While Tomic has built an impressive 16-4 record in Davis Cup, Kyrgios hasn’t won a single point for Australia over the past two years.
He missed last year’s first-round win over the Czech Republic with a virus and was dropped for the reverse singles against Kazakhstan after losing to lowly-ranked Aleksandr Nedovyesov on day one in Darwin.
Kyrgios was eventually omitted from the semi-final against Great Britain in Glasgow following a turbulent month in the US punctuated by his unsavoury sledging of French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
Tomic finally found some form in the third set and after some impressive serving converted on his fifth set point.
The pair then went toe to toe in the fourth before world No.11 Isner prevailed.
Hewitt, in his first tie as team captain, did his best to try and lift the energy level of his No.1 but Tomic didn’t respond until the third set.
Early on Tomic had no answer to Isner’s big serving, with the American winning four service games to love in the first set.
He blasted one serve at 253km/hr – the third-fastest ever recorded.
The second set was a similar story when Isner broke him at 3-3 after holding four break points.
It was a vastly different showing by Tomic to his opening singles win on Friday over American No.2 Jack Sock.
That result kept the home side in the hunt at 1-1 after Isner earlier trounced Sam Groth.
Hewitt came out of retirement to partner doubles specialist and Davis Cup debutant John Peers in Saturday’s doubles.
The new duo pushed doubles greats brothers Mike and Bob Bryan to five sets before the Americans got the win to take a 2-1 lead.
After reaching the semi-finals in 2015, Australia had high hopes this year but a shoulder injury to Thanasi Kokkinakis and then illness ruled Kyrgios out of tie cruelled their chances.
It’s the first time since 1979 that the United States have beaten Australia on grass and their first win in the great rivalry on any surface since 1997.
The Americans will now host either Croatia or Belgium in the quarter-finals.