Caroline Garcia routs Varvara Lepchenko in Charleston opener

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Caroline Garcia hasn't made it to a quarterfinal in 2018. (AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Caroline Garcia, the top seed at the Volvo Car Open, kicked off her clay-court season in dominating fashion, beating Varvara Lepchenko, 6-2, 6-3.

Coming off a surprising second-round loss at the Miami Open, Garcia showed no signs of difficulty in making the transition from hard courts to clay. The Frenchwoman was sharp right from the start, storming to a 3-0 lead. Garcia soon took a 5-1 lead and was two points away from the set at 30-all. However, Lepchenko rallied to win the next four points to break serve.

Serving at 2-5, Lepchenko got to 40-30 before Garcia took it to deuce. Lepchenko earned the advantage, but Garcia came back again, reaching set point. In total, there were five deuces in the game before Garcia managed to break and clinch the opener, 6-2.

Match point from Garcia's win over Lepchenko in Charleston: 

The second set started off with Garcia racing through her opening game. For the first time in the match, though, Lepchenko played a reasonable game that went in her favor. She challenged Garcia on her serve the next game, but was unable to get the break.

The two stayed on even terms the next few games, but while serving at 3-4, Lepchenko went down 0-30. On the next point, Garcia struck a massive return and charged the net, and the American was unable to make the passing shot. She saved one break point, but Garcia smacked a forehand winner at 15-40 to go up 5-3.

Garcia breezed through the next game to wrap up the set 6-3, taking her record against Lepchenko to 4-1. The top seed, who has yet to reach a quarterfinal this season, will next play the winner of Polona Hercog and Alize Cornet, the 14th seed, in the third round.


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