Cal Tennis Alumna Kops-Jones Wins in England
BIRMINGHAM, England – California alumna Raquel Kops-Jones captured the Aegon Classic doubles title with partner Abigail Spears in the Wimbledon tune-up on June 15. The U.S. pair, which competed in the French Open earlier this summer, defeated defending champions Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, 7-6(1), 6-1, in the grass-court tournament at Edgbaston Priory Club.
Seeded third at the Aegon Classic, Kops-Jones and Spears had beaten the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Sonia Mirza, 3-6, 6-3, 10-8, in the semifinal round. They collected their first WTA title of the season and improved to 2-1 all time against Australians Barty and Dellacqua with their championship victory.
Kops-Jones and Spears reached the second round of the French Open earlier this summer; the former Bear also reached the mixed doubles second round at Roland Garros with South African Raven Klaas.
In doubles, Kops-Jones partnered with Spears for the fourth straight year – and fifth overall – at Roland Garros. The sixth-seeded Americans defeated the unseeded-Austrian pair of Sandra Klemenschits and Yvonne Meusburger, 6-3, 6-3, in the first round on May 29. Two days later, the U.S. pair fell, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, to the duo of Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu and Italian Karin Knapp.
In mixed doubles, Kops-Jones and Klaas beat the tandem of Anastasia Rodionova (Australia) and Colin Fleming (Great Britain) in the May 29 first round, 3-6, 6-3, 10-8. But the Cal alum and her partner lost in the June 1 second round to the fifth-seeded pair of Kristina Mladenovic (France) and Daniel Nestor (Canada), 6-3, 6-2.
In January, the duo of Kops-Jones and Spears got as far as the semifinals of the Australian Open, falling to the third-seeded Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Mesnina, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
Kops-Jones has been playing professionally since completing her Cal career in 2004.
The erstwhile Bear garnered several accolades during her collegiate campaign, which spanned the 2000-01 to 2003-04 seasons. Ranked No. 1 collegiately for much of her senior season, Kops-Jones accomplished several firsts that year: she became the first African-American woman to win a major ITA singles title by winning the ITA All-American tournament; she won the first Pac-10 women's singles championship in school history; she was the first Cal woman to win Pac-10 Player of the Year honors; and she was the first Cal player to be named the ITA National Senior Player of the Year.
Kops-Jones claimed five All-America honors in her career; Kops-Jones was a singles All-American in 2001, 2003 and 2004 and a doubles All-American in 2003 and 2004. She ended her final season ranked No. 3 in singles and No. 11 in doubles with Jieun Jacobs. As a team, Cal was ranked 14th in the last ITA poll of 2003-04.