Karen Murphy has never missed a semi-finals appearance in five World Cups but faces a fight to claim a top-three play-offs spot heading into the weekend's final three sectional rounds.
The Australian slipped to a record of four wins and three losses with a 16-4, 7-7 defeat to four-time defending champion, New Zealand's Jo Edwards, in their round-seven match on Friday morning.
Edwards leads women's section one with six wins from seven games and Murphy needs to win her remaining matches to have any chance of making Monday's play-offs.
"There's no room for error now," the six-time Australian indoor champion said after the loss to Edwards.
"A few bad ends really costs you against a player as good as Jo. I was really happy with the second set and just have to keep on winning from here on."
Murphy won the first two ends of the nine-end first set before Edwards took control in an awesome display of draw bowls.
It was shot-for-shot for most of the second set - Murphy tied the set with a three on the last end and just missed out on a four which would have forced a third set tie-break.
Murphy won three tie-break matches this week and Friday night faced Malta's Carmen Spiter before matches against Macao's Nikki Lee and Hong Kong's China Tam on Saturday and Brunei's Amalia Matal in her final sectional match on Sunday.
Murphy's final three opponents are out of play-offs contention, with the Australian star needing three wins to keep her cup hopes alive.
Meanwhile, 2012-13 men's champion Jeremy Henry is locked in a battle with Scotland's World Indoor champion Stewart Anderson for top spot and direct qualification for Tuesday's semis in their men's section-one clash.
Henry's only loss in eight rounds was in a tie-break to Anderson in round five.
On Friday, Henry beat Macao's Johnny Ng 11-4, 10-4 and Isle of Man's Clive McGreal 9-3, 14-8.
Tony Wood, the reigning Australian Indoor champion, is well placed to make the top-three play-offs in section two.
After he lost his first two matches, Wood won his last four games, including a tie-break victory over Japan's Kenta Hasebe on Friday.