TOKYO, Japan - Americans Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears continued their breakthrough season on Saturday afternoon, winning their third WTA doubles title of the year together at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Having won Carlsbad in July and Seoul just last week, Kops-Jones and Spears came to Tokyo with confidence and it showed, as they plowed through the draw without even losing a set - in the final they raced out to a 61 42 lead against No.4 seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke and, after the German-Czech duo evened the second set 4-all, they closed it out, 61 64.
"We were trying to contain ourselves after we won - we kind of wanted to dance," Kops-Jones said after the match. "It's not a Grand Slam, but for us it's pretty close. We put in a lot of work this year and it's our biggest win ever."
"It's even better to share these moments with your friend," Spears added.
"Throughout last week in Seoul and this week in Tokyo, we've shown we can stay focused for a longer period of time during our matches," Kops-Jones said. "Sometimes you have errors, whether they're unforced errors or just errors in judgement - but our focus has been really strong on the court lately."
Spears was asked about the pair's penchant for playing attacking tennis.
"When I was little I would serve and volley because I had no patience and always wanted to finish the point," she said. "Some learn it at an early age and some learn it kind of later, but both of us have always played aggressively. We both like to come into the net in singles, too. We have fun with it."
Kops-Jones and Spears have five WTA doubles titles overall together: one in 2009 (Estoril), one in 2011 (Québec City) and the three so far in 2012.
And to top it off, Kops-Jones and Spears are now in strong contention for the last spot in the four-team doubles field at the WTA Championships in Istanbul - they are now just behind Maria Kirilenko and Toray Pan Pacific Open singles champion Nadia Petrova in the race for that fourth spot.
Both Kirilenko and Petrova and Kops-Jones and Spears are in this week's China Open draw - the Russians are the No.2 seeds in Beijing, while the Americans are the No.8 seeds. The No.1 seeds are the reigning French Open and US Open champions, Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.