Rabat, Morocco, 4 May 2017 | AAP

Daria Gavrilova has a golden opportunity to reach her first WTA semifinal of the year after a convincing victory over Elise Mertens at the Morocco Open.

The Australian will meet world No.102 Sara Errani in the quarterfinals after dispatching Mertens in straight sets.

World No.26 Gavrilova cruised to victory over her second-round opponent 6-2 6-1 on clay by punishing the Belgian’s second serve.

Gavrilova was broken in her first service game of the match, but won the next 10 games while breaking world No.53 Mertens three times in the second set.

“It was tough conditions. It was very hot, but I came out and I was fighting and I found my game and used it in the right moments,” Gavrilova said.

“Red clay is my favourite surface, so I’m really enjoying my week here in Rabat. Hopefully I will stay here for the whole tournament.”

Gavrilova has not progressed past the round of 16 this season.

Italy’s Errani took three sets to oust American eighth seed Alison Riske.

Varvara Lepchenko and Lauren Davis both also advanced on Wednesday, as did former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

With 280 rankings points on offer in Morocco, a maiden tournament victory could see third seed Gavrilova move within touching distance of Sam Stosur as Australia’s top-ranked player.

Stosur was knocked out of the Prague Open in the second round on Wednesday by Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The world No.19 and fourth seed, fell to the world No.144 6-3 6-2 in 78 minutes.

Stosur, a 33-year-old former US Open champion, has been twice a runner-up on the Prague clay, losing to Israel’s Shahar Pe’er in 2006 and Lucie Safarova last year.

She has 2000 ranking points to Gavrilova’s 1715.