Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall narrowly failed to find a way past top seeds Lim Jonghoon & An Jaehyun at the WTT Contender Rio.
The Commonwealth champions met their South Korean opponents with a place in the semi-finals at stake, and the top seeds twice took the lead either side of an 11-6 game win for the English pair in the second game.
The fourth saw Pitchford & Drinkhall make much of the running, and they opened up a 10-7 lead, only to see their opponents win four points in a row to set up a match point.
That was saved and, after another game point had been missed by Pitchford & Drinkhall, they got over the line at 14-12.
The decider saw the Koreans lead most of the way and, at 10-6 down, it looked grim for the English duo. But they dug in to save three of the match points, only to fall just short as their opponents took the fourth opportunity.
Lim Jonghoon & An Jaehyun (KOR) bt Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall 3-2 (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 12-14, 11-9)