Varvara Lepchenko into 2nd round

Updated: July 16, 2012, 11:39 PM ET
Associated Press

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- U.S. Olympian Varvara Lepchenko cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs in a first-round match at the Mercury Insurance Open on Monday.

Lepchenko won easily against Gibbs with tennis at the London Olympics set to begin in less than two weeks.

"It takes time to adjust," said Lepchenko, who had not played since losing in the third round on the grass at Wimbledon. "It's not just the surface, but the balls."

The left-hander hit an array of winners, including numerous drop shots, to advance to the second round on Wednesday.

Gibbs, who won NCAA titles in both singles and doubles for Stanford at the end of May, had few answers for Lepchenko, who is having her best year as a pro.

No. 6 seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who received a wild card into the event, will face Poland's Urszula Radwanska in the night match.

Lepchenko, born in Uzbekistan, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2007. She grabbed the fourth and final spot on the U.S. women's Olympic team behind Serena and Venus Williams and Christina McHale.

"I think it will be a lot easier going from the hard courts to grass," Lepchenko said.

With the Olympics less than two weeks away, the tournament has one of its weakest fields in years with just one top-10 player -- No. 10 Marion Bartoli of France.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press