Breaking down the draw of the International tournament in Rabat.
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova looks on course to capture her second International title this year as the highest ranked player in her quarter is No.35 Lauren Davis, who started the year in blistering form but has slowed down a little. Pavlyuchenkova however has a tricky second rounder; she could play countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova or Yanina Wickmayer. Davis will start off with a qualifier, then either Laura Siegemund (who probably will withdraw after her Stuttgart triumph, though there’s no news yet) or Kateryna Bondarenko.
Second quarter: Headlined by (3) Daria Gavrilova
Daria Gavrilova and Alison Riske are the seeds in this quarter, but neither of them are convincing on clay. Look out for Sara Errani and Alize Cornet, probably either of them who get out of this section is poised for a good run. Other names to look out for are Pauline Parmentier, who had a nice Fed Cup triumph, and Elise Mertens, who is coming off her finalist appearance in Istanbul (but could possibly withdraw).
Third quarter: Headlined by (4) Timea Babos
Irina-Camelia Begu and Timea Babos could possibly meet in the quarterfinals, which was a semifinal I predicted to happen in Istanbul last well (but did not). Begu seemed hampered by an injury in Istanbul so I’m completely not convinced with her. She starts off with Tatjana Maria, who Begu faced last week too. Timea Babos will face Francesca Schiavone in her opener, definitely an upset alert.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Timea Bacsinszky
Last year’s champion, Timea Bacsinszky, is looking to start off her clay court campaign with a bang once again. It’s not going to be easy for the Swiss though – she begins with Johanna Larsson, a clay court specialist. Second round opponents would be Cici Bellis or Nao Hibino. For the other seed, Yulia Putintseva, it doesn’t get much easier – she could meet tricky Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in the second round.
Finalists: Cornet, Bacsinszky
Full draw predictions will be out soon. 😊