Kops-Jones and Spears have had a solid start to the year, with semifinal outings at Sydney and the Australian Open putting them in fourth place on the Road To Singapore leaderboard coming into Doha, where they were runners-up in 2012 and semifinalists in 2013.
After a fairly routine first set win against Mona Barthel and Megan Moulton-Levy in their opener this year, the sixth-seeded Americans went down 3-0 in the second set, won three straight games and eventually captured the set in a tie-break to seal the 64 76(5) victory.
"We were just trying to stay with the process and were working on being aggressive and playing our game," Spears said. "They're a good team. Mona serves and returns well. Megan moves very well at the net. She's also our friend and it's sometimes difficult to play your friend. I thought we kept trying to do the right things and will keep trying to do that throughout."
"We focused really well," Kops-Jones said. "It was kind of windy and tough conditions. I think we handled it well. We're really happy with the win and looking forward to the next round."
In the other match involving a seeded team, seventh-seeded Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Nadia Petrova were 36 64 105 winners over Ukrainian wildcards Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk. Pavlyuchenkova is riding high these days, having won her singles opener earlier in the day on the heels of capturing her sixth WTA singles title in Paris two weeks ago.
Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, who teamed up for the 2012 Doha title, each were 62 63 winners on Tuesday, albeit alongside other partners. Huber is playing with Chan Hao-Ching and Raymond with Zhang Shuai. Next up for Raymond and Zhang are No.1 seeds and defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.