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Japan’s Ai Sugiyama and Shinobu Asagoe missed out on a place in the women’s doubles final at the Athens Games after a straight-sets defeat to second-seeded Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual in Friday’s semis.

News photoAi Sugiyama (right) and Shinobu Asagoe lost in the doubles semis
Friday in Athens, but can still win the bronze.

Fifth-seeded Sugiyama and Asagoe were no match for their Spanish opponents, who breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 victory in 70 minutes at Olympic Tennis Centre to set up a meeting with seventh-seeded Chinese duo Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian in Sunday’s final.

Sugiyama and Asagoe still have a chance to bring Japan its first tennis medal in 84 years when they take on Argentina’s Paola Suarez and Patricia Tarabini in the bronze medal match on Saturday.

“Our opponents were really difficult to play against and would not let us play our game,” said Sugiyama, a three-time Grand Slam doubles winner.

Li and Sun beat Suarez and Tarabini in a thrilling encounter 6-2, 2-6, 9-7 to secure China its first-ever Olympic tennis medal.

“This is our first time together at the Olympics and we are happy to be here, and surprised that we are in the final,” said Sun.

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