United States No. 2 Varvara Lepchenko is feeling in top form ahead of her debut at Moscow's Kremlin Cup, she has told R-Sport.
This season has seen Lepchenko rise from obscurity to 21st in the world rankings and represent the U.S. at the Olympics just five years after starting to play as an American after leaving her native country of Uzbekistan.
"The improvements in my game, and my fitness and my mental state, probably a big difference between what I have started with at the beginning of the year and at the moment," Lepchenko said Sunday.
"There's a lot of little details I've been working on, the adjustments in my footwork, as well as my strokes," she added, conceding: "There's still a lot of room for improvement."
Lepchenko's first-round opponent in Moscow is Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova, the world No. 44 and regarded as a solid opponent in the Kremlin Cup field.
"At this level of tournaments, you're not going to get an easy first-round match," she said.
"It's always someone that either played well in the past or is playing well right now, so that's why you're coming here and you've got to be 100 percent and give all you got."
Lepchenko mentioned to R-Sport on Saturday that she had suffered some "setbacks" while preparing for the tournament, but brushed off concerns these could affect her game.
"A few little details that usually you have during the tournaments, but nothing major that would set me back," she said of the problems.
If Lepchenko beats Pironkova, her second-round opponent will be either reigning champion and fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova or Russia's Ekaterina Makarova.
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