We are just five days away from the start of the 2023 French Open as 32 women descend upon Rabat, Morocco, for a final WTA lead-up event ahead of the second Slam of the season. The Grand Prix Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem may not have the most star-studded field, but intriguing matchups should lend itself to some terrific tennis. No. 5 seed Leylah Fernandez takes on 2022 NCAA Champion Peyton Stearns in what should be an excellent Round of 16 battle. We have the preview and prediction for that match and all other happenings around the grounds of Rabat. But who will advance?
WTA Rabat Day 4 Predictions
Alycia Parks vs Kamilla Rakhimova
Head-to-Head: Parks 2-0 Rakhimova
We have a next-gen battle on our hands when 22-year-old Alycia Parks squares off against 21-year-old Kamilla Rakhimova. Parks holds the 2-0 head-to-head record over Rakhimova, both victories coming last year. Parks has been the better player in 2023 but has struggled on the clay. She is just 4-6 on the surface compared to a 9-7 mark from Rakhimova. The Russian will dictate the pace of this match and will find success in the longer rallies. I expect Park to put up a fight, but I trust Rakhimova more on the clay.
Prediction: Rakhimova in 3
Julia Grabher vs Cagla Buyukakcay
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Julia Grabher and Cagla Buyukakcay will square with a WTA quarterfinal appearance on the line. Grabher has reached one previous WTA quarterfinal. Buyukakcay has reached four, but none since 2017. The veteran Buyukakcay played a terrific match in Round 1 to take down No. 7 seed Linda Fruhvirotva in straight sets. She has always been a strong clay court player. Grabher also has a solid history on the clay. Both women have the patience to play out points with few unforced errors. I expect a long, back-and-forth battle. Ultimately, I give the slight edge to Grabher, who has shown more consistency this season.
Prediction: Grabher in 3
Martina Trevisan vs Jana Fett
Head-to-Head: Trevisan 1-0 Fett
Martina Trevisan is the No. 1 seed in Rabat, looking to get in some valuable matchups ahead of Roland Garros. She will square off against qualifier Jana Fett in Round 2. Fett is currently ranked No. 266 in the world but has had some success this year at the ITF level. That said, she has just 3 WTA wins since 2020 and does not have the level to hang with Trevisan. The No. 1 seed should roll.
Prediction: Trevisan in 2
Leylah Fernandez vs Peyton Stearns
Head-to-Head: first meeting
No. 5 seed Leylah Fernandez takes on 2022 NCAA Champion Peyton Stearns in what should be an excellent Round of 16 battle. Fernandez has had an up-and-down season on the clay and is looking to find success ahead of the 2023 French Open. She has yet to beat a top-100 player on the surface this season. On the other hand, Stearns has been dominant on the dirt this year. She is 15-4 at all levels and has reached three finals. The 21-year-old has quickly ascended the rankings due to her incredible consistency and power off both wings. I predict her rally tolerance to win out against Fernandez.
Prediction: Stearns in 2
Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images