- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 3, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Top-seeded Caroline Garcia of France defeated Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-2, 6-3 in her first match at the WTA’s Volvo Car Open on Tuesday.

Garcia broke Lepchenko three times in the opening set to take control in her first clay-court match of the season.

Defending champion Daria Kasatkina needed three sets before beating Christina McHale of the United States 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. The Russian is the only past champion left in the field after Andrea Petkovic and Sam Stosur lost earlier Tuesday.

Other seeded players winning were No. 9 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, No. 13 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and No. 16 Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Barty topped American Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-2, Begu defeated Georgina Garcia Perez of Spain 6-3, 6-4 and Vesnina defeated American Madison Brengle 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Kristie Ahn of the United States defeated Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open title, 6-2, 6-4.

Garcia said she worked hard after the Miami Open to prepare for the clay-court event and was happy with her performance against Lapchenko.

“But as we have French Open, like of course we like this season,” Garcia said. “But I don’t know if I’m a clay court person or not. I just enjoy it as much as I enjoy hard court.”

Garcia, ranked No. 7, had a breakout season in 2017 with titles in consecutive weeks in China at Wuhan and Beijing.

In other matches, Taylor Townsend of the U.S. beat Heather Watson of Britain 6-3, 6-4. American Kristie Ahn stopped Australian Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-4 and Sara Errani of Italy defeated Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-4, 6-4.

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