DUBAI, UAE - The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships doubles semifinals will be seedless for the first time in the tournament's history after two more seeded duos were eliminated Thursday, most notably No.1 seeds and four-time Grand Slam winners Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears had lost all four of their previous matches with the Italians, but did win a set for the first time in their most recent clash in January's Sydney semifinals. This time, from 4-4 in the first set, Kops-Jones and Spears reeled off seven straight games en route to a 64 61 triumph.
"They're a tough team and we had never beaten them," Spears said. "We just wanted to play aggressive and focus on our game style. Also, we had a good attitude. So we're happy with that."
"We were really fired up to play them today," Kops-Jones said. "We had a close match with them in Sydney in January. We brought some of our best today. And hopefully we'll be bringing that again tomorrow and perhaps in the final."
The Americans' semifinal foes will be Flavia Pennetta and Samantha Stosur, who rallied from a 3-1 first set deficit and 4-1 second set hole in their 63 75 defeat of Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Alicja Rosolska.
The day's other upset saw Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova convert on four of five break point chances in their 64 64 quarterfinal victory over second-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, which came a day after the Russians upended the Williams sisters. But this result shouldn't come as a huge surprise, considering Kudryavtseva and Rodionova's last five outings coming into this week included a runner-up showing in Moscow last season and the title in Brisbane and a runner-up showing in Pattaya City so far this season.