Over three months and eight tournaments into her 2017 season, world No. 1 Angelique Kerber remains title-less.
The German, coming off a breakthrough 2016 in which she won her first two Grand Slam titles in Melbourne and New York, was the overwhelming favorite in Monterrey this past week: The second-highest ranked player in Mexico was No. 16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
But despite a relatively weak field, Kerber couldn’t snap her title drought. She survived a scare in her opener, coming from a set down to beat Francesca Schiavone, before winning her next three matches in straight sets.
The 29-year-old looked strong in a semifinal victory over Carla Suarez Navarro, but Pavlyuchenkova outdueled her in three sets in Kerber’s maiden final of the season.
Kerber is now 16-8 on the year, and 0-5 against Top 20 players. World No. 2 Serena Williams retook the No. 1 ranking from Kerber after winning the Australian Open in January, but the American hasn’t played since Melbourne. Kerber (7,335 points) currently leads Williams (7,010) by just 325 points, and 1,315 points separate her from world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova (6,020).
Williams withdrew from both Indian Wells and Miami in early March with a left knee injury. It’s unclear when she’ll return to the tour.
Kerber has had a very busy start to her campaign, and she’s off this week with the WTA tour in Bogota, Colombia and Biel, Switzerland.
The top-ranked veteran is next scheduled to play the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, beginning on April 24. Pliskova, Simona Halep, Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Garbine Muguruza, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys are in the loaded field, as is Maria Sharapova, who will be playing her first WTA tournament since the 2016 Australian Open.