In their opening match, the unseeded duo persevered to defeat Polona Hercog (Slovenia) and Petra Martic (Croatia), 6-3 7-6 (7-5 tie breaker). Next up were Monica Niculescu (Romania) and Zi Yan (China) the number ten seeds. Spears and Kops-Jones showed true grit in this one, wearing down their opponents in a three set marathon. They lost the first set 6-7 (5-7 tie breaker), won the next set 7-5, and dominated the third to win 6-2.
The two victories brought them to the third round (or if this was the NCAA’s March Madness, the Sweet-16). Here they ran into Cara Black (Zimbabwe) and Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) the fifth seeded team. Defeated by a score of 4-6 2-6, the 2011 Australian Open came to an end for the two Americans. But, this was just the first step in their quest to become the world’s number one doubles team. There will be many more, smaller tournaments for them to get their teamwork synchronized, and then it’s on to the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. We wish them luck, and we will be following their progress.
Brittenham has recently taken his “Brain In A Bag” to the Walt Self Senior Center, where he is using various techniques and drills (including juggling) with the Lyons Golden Gang to develop their “whole brain thinking.”