Angelique Kerber, the world no. 2, is heading to her second WTA clay-court event of the season. Still struggling with form and not compelling results, the German seemed a bit off a while ago in Stuttgart where she failed to defend her title from last year. Now, the stakes are even higher as the WTA tour will get into its first Premier Mandatory event on clay. Mutua Madrid has Kerber as the top seed in women's singles draw. She leads the upper half of the board and her potential path towards the higher stages might produce some high-profile encounters.

Last year, Kerber was subject to an early exit in Madrid and overall her output of Tennis on clay was below expectations.

Kerber is sharing the first quarter with Bouchard, Sharapova, Svitolina, Kuznetsova

Clay court is not what Kerber likes the most as her career's best results occurred either on hardcourt or grass. Even so, she remains a top player and a real danger for all others involved in the competition. The singles draw consists of 64 slots which means the seeded player won't be given a bye in the first round. Kerber will start her race in Madrid by facing Timea Babos, Hungary's no. 1 and 34th in the rankings. In head to head stats, Kerber has a compelling lead over Babos having won all their four meetings.

On clay, they met only once back in 2015 in the first round of the french open. It was a straight sets victory for Kerber but a lot has changed in the meantime. If she gets past Babos, the world no. 2 could face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 2017 Australian Open's semifinalist. Moving forward, the round of 16 may bring either Maria Sharapova, Genie Bouchard or Pavlyuchenkova on the other side of the net.

It's a harsh draw for Kerber who is far from what she delivered back in 2016.

Angelique Kerber's numbers speak for themselves as she is yet to win a title in 2017

Back in 2016, Kerber and Serena Williams held the headlines of the WTA Tour with one exception at the French Open. Besides reaching the world no.1 spot, Kerber capped the most prolific season of her career with two Grand Slam titles and a runner-up status at Wimbledon.

This season, she is on a downward spiral as she has a 17/10 win/loss ratio in singles. Moreover, she is yet to cap a WTA title. The 2016 US Open title was the last for Kerber who is still struggling and seems unable to find her pace. The bright side is that she has so little to defend during this clay court session which means she has no undesired pressure to cope with.