Leylah Fernandez in action at the Morocco Open
Leylah Fernandez vs. Peyton Stearns @ 9:45 a.m. E.T. DAZN, TVA Sports, Tennis Channel
Under the brutal North African sun, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez will take on USA's Peyton Stearns in the second round of the 2023 WTA Rabat Open this morning.
Lining up against each other for the first time in Morocco, this matchup is delicately poised despite an almost twenty spot difference in the respective WTA rankings.
Number five seed Leylah Fernandez has had a patchy season so far, with a 16-11 record over all 2023. The 20 year old has slid from No. 16 to No. 51 in the rankings since reaching the final of the U.S. Open back in 2021.
She reached the quarter final of the French Open last season and has a decent record on clay. But Fernandez had to dig deep to secure a 6-3, 6-4 win over Angela Boluda in the opening round in Morocco.
Peyton Stearns had a much stronger start in Rabat, overcoming Panna Udvardy 6-1, 6-1 while claiming almost 70% of the points behind her first serve.
The 21-year-old is 29-7 so far in 2023 and earlier this season she reached the quarter final at WTA Austin, as well as a second round run at Indian Wells.
So all the pressure is on Fernandez here, and we think Stearns might just upset the apple cart here.
The Programme pick: Peyton Stearns in three sets (+333)
Varvara Gracheva vs. Selena Janicijevic @ 11:30 a.m. E.T. DAZN, TVA Sports, Tennis Channel
In the much cooler air of northern France, Varvara Gracheva will go head to head with Selena Janicijevictake at Strasbourg International just before lunchtime.
Gracheva is about to go from Russian No. 7 to French No. 2, after the 22-year old applied for citizenship earlier in the season.
The World No. 44 is riding high right now, after a career-best run of form that saw her reach the final of the ATX Open in Austin, before suffering round of 16 exits against the eventual winners at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
World No. 188 Selena Janicijevic, came back from a set down to beat Oceane Dodin on Sunday, securing her first ever tour-level victory in the process.
The French 20-year-old will have the home crowd behind her this morning, and the fact that Gracheva needed three sets to overcome Zhuoxuan Bai on Monday might give Janicijevic reason to hope here.
But the rankings don’t lie, and we’re backing Gracheva to show her class and get the job done in straight sets.
The Programme pick: Gracheva in straight sets (-138)
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