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Chinese Women Down Macau Pair in Final

Unfancied Macau duo Zhang Dan and Zhang Zhibo enjoyed a remarkable run to the final of the China Masters women's doubles competition before facing reality.

Despite their fine performance, they were unable to sustain their form against China's Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei, who ran out 21-14, 21-11 winners in the final to lift the title.

The two Zhangs were given no chance when they started their campaign in the first round against China's seventh-seeded pair of Pan Pan and Tian Qing.

Upsetting the odds, Zhang and Zhang battled through three games to emerged 17-21, 21-7, 21-9 winners, taking the final two games with surprising ease.

They were stretched to three games again the second round, against Malaysia's fourth-seeded Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty.

Although they beat the seventh seeds in the first round, few gave them a chance against the fourth seeds.

But the Macau starlets turned in another inspired performance to win a strength-sapping three-gamer 14-21, 21-14, 22-20.

Having downed two seeded pairs, Zhang and Zhang were ready for more upsets and next on the cards were Thailand's sixth seeds Duang Anong Aroonkesorn and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul in the semi-finals.

The Thais enjoyed a quarter-final walkover from the top seeded Chinese pair of Du Jing and Yu Yang, who won Olympic gold in Beiiing in August.

But the hard-working Zhangs showed no ill-effects of their two three-gamers, winning 21-14, 21-14 to storm into the final.

However, that is where their fairytale came to an end, with Cheng and Zhao, who themselves upsets several seeded pairs on the way to the final, proved too strong.

In a near mirror-image of the Macau women's run, Cheng and Zhao first took on Indonesia's fifth-seeded pair of Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii.

After a tough three games, the unseeded Chinese won 19-21, 21-14, 22-20 to reach the quarter-finals.

There, they came up against more Indonesians in the form of third seeds Vita Marissa and Liliyana Natsir, one of the favourites for the title.

Once again, the seedings meant nothing to the Chinese, who won 21-19, 10-21, 21-11.

Next up was a semi-final showdown with the German-Canadian combination of Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid, who were the eighth seeds.

For Cheng and Zhao, it was the easiest match of the tournament so far as they won 21-13, 21-18 to set up a final date with the Zhangs.

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