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Birch and Smith's Barcelona Spain Masters run ends at semi-finals

Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith narrowly missed out on the women’s doubles final at the Barcelona Spain Masters after a successful week for the duo.

The English pairing started extremely brightly, winning the first game, but eventually fell to defeat 20-22 21-16 21-10 to Indonesian first seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.

The first seeds showed their strength from the off, immediately taking the lead in the first game.

However, Birch and Smith fought back at the death as they levelled the game at 18-18 and 20-20 before claiming two decisive points on the spin.

And the English pairing were clearly enlivened by the success, taking a 7-4 lead in the second game.

But, Polii and Rahayu went on a run of six consecutive points to halt the momentum and level the match with a 21-16 game win.

Ten straight points in the finale from the Indonesian duo effectively put the game to bed but Birch and Smith showed spirit in gaining ten points of their own before losing the game 21-10 and seeing their run at the competition come to an end.

Birch and Smith did, though, enjoy great success this week as they came from behind to beat number four seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean of Malaysia to reach the last four.

Having dropped the first set 21-15, they then fought back to win the next two 21-14 and 21-19 to take the win.

This continues the pairing’s strong form ahead of the Yonex All-England Open Badminton Championships, after they won the Saarlorlux Open together in 2019.

Meanwhile, Smith’s stellar year is continuing – having already claimed her first Super 300 title alongside Marcus Ellis in the mixed doubles at the Thailand Masters.