On the second day of play at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, we saw one of the first second round matches take place with top seed Caroline Garcia of France get past the home favourite Varvara Lepchenko from the United States 6-2, 6-3 rather comfortably. Overall, this was a solid match from Garcia but there is a bit to improve on as she was patchy on return at times, which is usually a very strong area in her game, and she also struggled to close it out at the conclusion of both sets despite having full momentum going to close it out with ease. Lepchenko was blown away in the opener as she seemed a bit overwhelmed by the opponent and possibly the crowd but when she settled down she was not too bad, but the inconsistency was exposed against a player of Garcia’s calibre.
The opening set was predominately a masterclass from Caroline Garcia and she looked unstoppable until the very end when she gave Varvara Lepchenko a look in at her vulnerability on the tennis court. The start was flawless from Garcia as she was hitting her average clean groundstrokes while attacking anything slow or short, which ended up being quite a bit, to take the opening twelve of thirteen points which included a break to love off a flustered Lepchenko for the early 3-0 lead. Lepchenko managed to calm herself down as she came out in the next game with more powerful serves and she was taking some more risks in the rally shots which secured her a hold of serve but then she got broken for the second time soon after because Garcia was just too good at taking control from the return and hitting her deadly shots down-the-line. When Garcia was serving for the set at 5-1, she had a bizarre patch of nervous play as Lepchenko continued going for her shots, which secured her a break but it did not detriment Garcia as she broke in the next game, which was a mammoth one with both women fighting hard, for 6-2.
It was a worse second set from both women as they struggled to get into any rhythm and when Caroline Garcia did eventually find some first set form, it still was not as impressive. It looked like a good start from Garcia as she was clean in her opening hold to love but in the very next game, she was missing quite a few easy returns and with Lepchenko adding some more aggression into her serve, she earned her own hold to love. This pattern continued with Garcia strong on serve but weak on the return for the next couple of games despite Lepchenko facing break point (which she saved) at 2-1 due to back to back double faults. This changed after Lepchenko came close at 3-2 but her errors let her down and after that, she seemed frustrated and started over-pressing. These newfound errors, as well as some more Garcia intensity, saw the Frenchwoman get the break for the 5-3 lead. It’s rather concerning that Garcia seemed to get nervous at this juncture of the set again as she hit a double fault with some errors but she eventually persevered and saved two break points to serve out the 6-2, 6-3 match.