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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Lauren Davis WTA Rabat live stream: Pavlyuchenkova targets seventh straight WTA win

Brendan O'Neill in Tennis 4 May 2017

Currently on a six-match winning streak at tour-level, top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova targets the semi-finals of the Grand Prix de Sar Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, Morocco, when she takes on diminutive seventh seed Lauren Davis of the USA on Thursday.

Watch and bet on live live tennis at bet365 > sports > live streaming tennis. Pavlyuchenkova vs Davis quarter-final clash begins around 2.00pm local time/BST on Thursday.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lauren Davis have each won a total of 18 matches (including winning one WTA title) in 2017 heading into this quarter-final showdown in Rabat, but only one can add to that tally as they square off for a place in the semi-finals. This indicates both are in great form (which they are), making this clash in Morocco an interesting one. Pavlyuchenkova is into her first clay court quarter-final since capturing the Estoril title all the way back in 2013, while Davis is featuring in the last eight on clay for the first time since making it to that stage on the green clay of Charleston in 2015. Either Daria Gavrilova or Sara Errani await in the semi-finals as Pavlyuchenkova and Davis take to court around 2.00pm local time/BST on Thursday.

Always a player with bucketloads of talent, Pavlyuchenkova is quietly putting together her best ever start to a season, with the World No. 16 well-placed this clay campaign to perhaps begin a launch towards the top 10. Already into a fifth quarter-final of the season, it appeared as if Pavlyuchenkova was cursed when reaching that stage on tour.

Pavlyuchenkova advanced to seven quarter-finals last year - Brisbane, St. Petersburg, Acapulco, Wimbledon, Montreal, Linz and Moscow - and added to that collection with last eight finishes at Sydney, the Australian Open and Indian Wells this season, however the powerful Russian lost all 10. That’s quite a deflating statistic for a player as good as Pavlyuchenkova, but fortunately she managed to snap that sequence on the hardcourts of Monterrey in Mexico, where she edged Timea Babos 7-5 in the third in the quarter-finals before taking down Caroline Garcia and then No. 1 Angelique Kerber to win the ninth WTA title of her career.

Known as a giant-killer on tour - she has 23 wins over top 10 opponents and nine over top five rivals - Pavlyuchenkova has also made the quarter-finals of every grand slam, but this year she’s looking like a consistent threat, something she has failed at so far during her career. It feels like she’s been around forever, but Pavlyuchenkova is still only 25 years of age, and with some impressive showings already in 2017, you can’t help but feel encouraged about what is still to come this year for the Russian.

Pavlyuchenkova is yet to drop a set this week en route to the quarter-finals in Rabat, dispatching Conny Perrin 6-2 7-6(6) and Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 7-5. Pavlyuchenkova was two points away from being extended to a third set against compatriot Makarova, but she dug deep and managed to come away with the straight sets victory.

“It happens a lot when the girls are down in the score and they see they have nothing to lose so they are going for it more,” Pavlyuchenkova said after the match.“I dropped a little bit my concentration and started to play more passive instead of aggressive. But finally I found my way back.”

Lauren Davis (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)6x5x4x3xLauren Davis is also yet to relinquish a set this week in Morocco, but the American has been far more dominant, dropping just a combined six games in straight sets demolitions of Nadia Podoroska (6-2 6-1) and Kateryna Bondarenko (6-1 6-2). Those were important victories for Davis, who came into Rabat on a three-match losing streak through Miami, Charleston and Fed Cup, but the 23-year-old has seemingly returned to her fantastic early-season form.

Projected to reach a career-high ranking of at least 32 in the world regardless of her result in the quarter-finals, Davis has been in scintillating form since last year’s American summer. Davis made it to the final in Washington D.C., beating Monica Puig and Camila Giorgi before falling to Yanina Wickmayer and went on to advance to the Quebec City final a few weeks later, coming through qualifying but ultimately falling just short against young gun Oceane Dodin in the final.

Davis would again come out of qualifying to reach the semi-finals of Luxembourg towards the end of 2016, defeating Kristyna Pliskova and Andrea Petkovic before going down against Petra Kvitova, while Dodin again thwarted her in the final of the 100k Poitiers ITF event. Davis continued her superb form to begin 2017, finally capturing an elusive WTA title, taking down Barbora Strycova, Jelena Ostapenko and Ana Konjuh to win the Auckland crown.

Back-to-back quarter-final finishes during the short Middle Eastern swing in Doha and Dubai were excellent results for Davis, who conquered the likes of Roberta Vinci, Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova during that run and was only stopped by eventual finalist Caroline Wozniacki in Doha and eventual champion Elina Svitolina in Dubai. The American then went on to make the Round of 16 in Indian Wells, losing to the in-form Kristina Mladenovic.

Davis and Pavlyuchenkova have split their previous two meetings on tour, with the American winning their first round Australian Open encounter last year, while the Russian prevailed in the Monterrey quarter-finals in 2013. This should be quite an even match-up, with both players in great form and determined to continue their winning momentum, while a title is certainly up for grabs to whoever can win this clash. Pavlyuchenkova certainly holds the advantage when it comes to power, but Davis can be deceptive when it comes to that department, while she can certainly frustrate the Russian into error as well. With Pavlyuchenkova’s past quarter-final struggles in mind and the dominant form of Davis this week, I think the American can grab the upset here.

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