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By Chris Oddo

(October 2, 2012) -- When you think of American women and doubles tennis, the first words that come to mind are typically Venus and Serena or Huber and Raymond (and deservedly so), but a pair of tried-and-true tour veterans from the U.S.A. are hoping to gain some well deserved exposure as the road to the WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey nears its conclusion.

Raquel Kops-Jones, 29, and Abigail Spears, 31, have won two consecutive tournaments (Seoul and Tokyo) and have managed to creep within 112 points of Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko for the final spot.

With two of the three doubles teams in contention for the fourth and final spot in the doubles competition at the China Open, this week's action in Beijing promises to be exciting, especially if both Kops-Jones/ Spears and Petrova/ Kirilenko can reach the semifinals, where they are slated to meet.

Kops-Jones and Spears, for those who do not know, have amassed 611 Tour-level victories between themselves, and this year they've combined for three titles, five finals. Additionally, each both Kops-Jones and Spears has reached a career-high doubles ranking in 2012 after playing a full schedule (this week is their 24th event of 2012).

The highlight of their season was a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon, where they promptly lost to one of those "other" American women's doubles tandems (Venus and Serena), 6-1, 6-1.

On Tuesday they advanced to the second round in Beijing with a 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-5 win over Catalina Castano and Virginie Razzano. The win was their 9th in a row.

Here's a look at how the race to Istanbul shapes up for the teams still in the mix:

Red: Already Qualified, Magenta: Still Alive

Rank

Team

Nation

Points

1

Errani/Vinci

Italy

10087

2

Hlavackova/Hradecka

Czech Republic

7100

3

Huber/Raymond

U.S.A.

7036

4

Petrova/ Kirilenko

Russia

4555

5

Kops-Jones/ Spears

U.S.A

4433

6

Llagostera Vives/ Martinez Sanchez

Spain

3737**

 
** Updated: According to the WTA, Llagostera Vives and Martinez Sanchez have been eliminated from the race.

 

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