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Strong Start For Kops-Jones & Spears

Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears ended a four-match skid in doubles action at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday.

Published April 03, 2013 11:58

Strong Start For Kops-Jones & Spears
Raquel Kops-Jones, Abigail Spears

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - All four seeded teams were victorious in their openers at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, with Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears looking especially impressive.

After a breakout season in 2012 that saw them fall just short of qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul, Kops-Jones and Spears had won just three of their 10 matches in 2013 coming into this week.

But the second-seeded Kops-Jones and Spears snapped a four-match losing streak with a 61 62, 58-minute defeat of Darija Jurak and Katalin Marosi. The 90th WTA win of their partnership was their third in three meetings with Jurak and Marosi.

Advancing by the very same scoreline were another pair of Americans, No.3 seeds Vania King and Lisa Raymond, over Varvara Lepchenko and Mandy Minella. King and Raymond converted on all four of their break point opportunities and were never broken themselves in the 45-minute contest.

"It was the first match for Vania and I in a tournament besides Fed Cup and my first match of the year on clay," Raymond said. "We didn't do too much wrong. It was a nice match for us to get under our belts. It was fun.

"I think we both know doubles pretty well. Obviously Vania's had some unbelievable success, being a two-time Grand Slam champion. We both like to cross. We both volley well. Vania stays back a little bit more, which allows me to move some. It's difficult on clay to get the footing. It's going to take me a couple more matches to get it, but I'll get there."

Raymond has quite a history at this event, having first played in it in 1994 when it was still held in Hilton Head. She captured the title at the tournament's first staging in Charleston in 2001 alongside Rennae Stubbs, then defended the title with Stubbs in 2002. She added a third Family Circle Cup title with Samantha Stosur in 2006. Another title this year would be especially sweet, as that would give her 80 WTA doubles titles for her career, tied with Natasha Zvereva for fifth-most of the Open Era.

Also moving on were top-seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber. In their 60 64, one-hour triumph over Marina Erakovic and Jessica Pegula, they jumped out to a 60 30 lead, lost three straight games, then regained the momentum and closed it out.

The most dramatic match of the day saw No.4 seeds Julia Goerges and Yaroslava Shvedova survive Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Janette Husarova despite losing eight more points than they won. Goerges and Shvedova overcame four match points against them, including three in the second set of their 36 76(6) 1210 win.

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