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Wimbledon 2012 Bracket: Players Who Must Step Up on Day 2

Stephen FenechCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2015

Wimbledon 2012 Bracket: Players Who Must Step Up on Day 2

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    The most prestigious tennis tournament in the world is underway, and the other half of the draw is set to compete on day two.

    The tennis schedule changes so quickly. Just a few short weeks ago, the players were competing on slow red clay in Paris. The pressure is on both fields to adjust their strokes, game plans and mentality to the nuances of the grass-court game.

    Day one saw Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova easily cruise into the second round, while five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams looked lethargic and lost in the first round to Elena Vesnina

    Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal kicks off his campaign on day two against Thomaz Bellucci. Bellucci's game is better suited for clay, and Nadal should have no trouble advancing to the second round.

    Day two promises to be just as exciting as day one, and here are a handful of players that need to step up and prove they are threats to be a factor at this year's Wimbledon.

Caroline Wozniacki

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    Caroline Wozniacki was the number one player in the world for 67 weeks. However, there was a lot of controversy regarding her reign at number one, as she has never won a Grand Slam title.

    Without a major title, Wozniacki's spot at the top was viewed by many as illegitimate. While Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters were claiming major titles, Wozniacki was failing to do the same, but still managed to hold the top spot.

    Since then, Wozniacki has slipped to seventh in the rankings, and hasn't been as consistent as she was in the year prior.

    She kicks off her Wimbledon campaign against Tamira Paszek on day two. Paszek is coming off winning a title at the AEGON International, beating Angelique Kerber in the final.

    At the AEGON International, Paszek proved she is a threat on faster grass courts, and stands a real chance of upsetting Wozniacki in the first round.

    In order for Wozniacki to get by Paszek, she will need to play more aggressive and dominate the pace of the match. 

    Wozniacki has reached the fourth round in each of the last three Wimbledon's, but her matchup with Paszek may be the toughest first round matchup that she has had in quite a while.

Mardy Fish

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    Mardy Fish will be facing off against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in the first round of Wimbledon. They have played each other once before, way back in 2006 at Metz. Fish won the contest in straight sets.

    Fish is currently the world's 12th ranked player, but is defending quarterfinal points at Wimbledon. Last year, he made a nice run before being defeated by Rafael Nadal in the quarters.

    Fish has not played a match since the U.S Men's Claycourt Championship in April. Since then, he has been diagnosed with a heart condition, causing him to miss the entire European clay-court season.

    Obviosuly, Fish's health should be the primary concern, and hopefully he will be able to regain his past form. He has worked very hard to get his ranking where it is, and it would be a shame for his condition to take it from him.

    Fish proved that he is capable of making a run on grass last year, but he was playing at a much higher level then. If Fish has a disappointing Wimbledon, his ranking will start to slip and his results may soon follow suit.

    He will be under pressure to put together a solid result at Wimbledon, and it all starts with his first round matchup against Hidalgo.

Serena Williams

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    Serena Williams lost in the first round of a Grand Slam event for the first time at this year's French Open. Although it would be a major surprise for her to follow that result with another first round exit, the 13-time Grand Slam champion needs to step up on day two.

    In the first round, Williams will be facing Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and is heavily favored to make it to the second round. In fact, it would be a huge shock to see Williams flame out in the first round at Wimbledon.

    Her aggressive style is well suited for the grass, and her serve will make her a threat to win every match that she plays.  

    Serena has won Wimbledon four times in the past, and is among the favorites to win this year's title. A strong performance in the first round would prove that Williams is prepared to make a deep run.

    Her performance at the French Open was a major disappointment, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Williams playing in the final on Saturday.

Kei Nishikori

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    Kei Nishikori is already the highest ranked men's player to ever come out of Japan. He is entering Wimbledon ranked 18th but missed the French Open due to injury.

    He wasn't able to compete in Paris because of an abdominal injury, but should be at full strength for Wimbledon.  

    Nishikori has never won a match at Wimbledon but is hoping to change that this year. He certainly has the game to win at least a couple of matches on grass but has to play a complete match in order to do so. 

    On day two, Nishikori will be facing off against Mikhail Kukushkin who he has beaten three times. In their most recent meeting, Nishikori prevailed in three sets on a hard court. 

    Nishikori has a very manageable path to the third round where he could meet Juan Martin del Potro.

    It is time for Japan's highest ranked player to start stringing together good results at Grand Slams, and this year's Wimbledon is a good place to start. 

Sara Errani

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    Sara Errani shocked the tennis world at this year's French Open, managing to make it all the way to the final after being seeded 21st. 

    Errani is currently in the middle of the best season of her career. At this year's Australian Open, Errani managed to make it to the fourth round, her best result at the tournament. 

    Her performance in Paris catapulted her to number 10 in the world, a career-high. Her new ranking puts more pressure on her to have a good result at Wimbledon.

    On day two, Errani will play American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe, and will be the heavy favorite to advance to the second round. If Vandeweghe pulls the upset, the conversation will quickly turn to how Errani's run at the French Open was nothing more than a fluke. 

    It will be up to Errani to step up and prove that her efforts this year were not a stroke of luck. 

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