- Associated Press - Monday, July 16, 2012

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

Lepchenko, a naturalized U.S. citizen, won easily against Gibbs with the London Olympics tennis schedule set for less than two weeks away.

The left-hander used a variety of shots, including numerous drop shots for winners, as she advanced 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 Ursula Radwanska in the featured night match.

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

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.

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