Wimbledon 2012: 8 Players to Watch During the Second Week

Michael Ann McKinlayContributor IIIJune 30, 2012

Wimbledon 2012: 8 Players to Watch During the Second Week

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    It's pretty safe to say that no one expected Week 1 at Wimbledon to contain major upsets, let alone, multiple late-night dramas. From roof closure dilemmas to biased foot fault calls, no day at the All England Club was uneventful. 

    Such excitement has left the bottom half of the men's draw wide open, and with many of the women's seeds out, it too looks more open. But nonetheless, the favorites are still hanging around, fighting for a spot in the final weekend. 

    Excluding the favorites (Serena, Sharapova, Djokovic, Federer and Murray) which players are most likely to challenge the top seeds? 

Richard Gasquet

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    The surprise 2007 Wimbledon semifinalist has looked strong during the first week, dispatching the 12th seed Nicolas Almagro in the last round.

    In that quarterfinal five years ago, Gasquet was down two sets and a break in the third and still managed to beat the third seed and favorite Andy Roddick 8-6 in the fifth, thanks to his one-handed backhand.

    Wimbledon has been Gasquet's best slam, and he could potentially meet Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. 

    Bottom line: Gasquet knows what it takes to knock off a top seed at Wimbledon. 

Kim Clijsters

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    It's always dangerous when Clijsters enters a Grand Slam unseeded. The last time was the 2009 U.S. Open, where she was rewarded with a wild card, and as we know, won her second Grand Slam and U.S. Open title. 

    Clijsters has already faced a couple of tough top players including Jelena Jankovic in the opening round  and Vera Zvonareva in the third round. If her level continues to increase, she could potentially cause Maria Sharapova trouble in the quarters. 

    It's also important to note that Wimbledon is the only major where Clijsters has not reached the final, which is surprising, since her all-around game, with here powerful serve and forehand, is suited for the grass.

    Clijsters plans to retire at the end of the season and hopes to make a lasting impression during her final trip to the All England Club. 

Mikhail Youzhny

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    By knocking off the No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic, Youzhny finds himself in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the seventh time. He has yet to advance to a quarterfinal, but with John Isner's early exit, this is his best chance, with Denis Istomin up next. 

    Youzhny has had success on grass prior to Wimbledon, making the semifinals at the Gerry Weber Open, losing to Roger Federer. Plus, Youzhny is capable of beating top players at majors. He beat Rafael Nadal at the 2006 U.S. Open. 

    Look for Youzhny to make his first and much-deserved Wimbledon quarterfinal. 

Sabine Lisicki

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    Lisicki came into Wimbledon with a five-match losing streak but quickly erased it as she finds herself in the second week for the second straight year. Next up is top seed Maria Sharapova—a repeat of last year's semifinal. 

    If she can learn from that match, she has the potential to give Sharapova trouble, with her strong ground strokes that can move her opponents off the court. 

    Wimbledon is, by far, her best major, and Lisicki hopes to make another deep run.   

Brian Baker

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    Baker has once again been the American storyline for Week 1, coming back from multiple surgeries and is now in the Round of 16 for the first time in his career. The Nadal upset has left his section of the draw wide open.

    His belief should help against his next opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber, but will nonetheless be a tough task. Kohlschreiber generates a lot of power off his serve and backhand and is also playing confidently.  

    Baker is one of two American men left in the draw and hopes to continue his Cinderella story. 

Tamira Paszek

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    The surprise player on the women's side made a large statement by beating former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round. Having won the Eastbourne Tournament the week before has added extra confidence to the Austrian's game. 

    During her Wozniacki match, Paszek showed real grit, fighting off two match points with down-the-line ground-stroke winners. 

    Next facing Roberta Vinci, Paszek has the chance to match her best result at Wimbledon—the quarterfinals.

Ana Ivanovic

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    The former world No. 1 is back in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009. Whether she's struggling with her confidence or her ball toss, every match is a fight for Ivanovic. Since winning the French Open in 2008, she has yet to make a quarterfinal appearance at any of the Slams. 

    At this year's Wimbledon, Ivanovic has made adjustments to her game, (more or less) and hopes to be in top form when she faces No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka. Ivanovic will need to play very aggressively to cause any sort of upset.  

Marin Cilic

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    Marin Cilic withstood a tough and tall task, besting American Sam Querrey in a five-set, five-hour-plus thriller. As the 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 17-15 scoreline showed, it was all about the big serve.  

    Just like the 2010 Isner/Mahut match, Cilic and Querrey had a hard time stringing points together in the opposing service game. However, Cilic played the bigger points better, moving Querrey side to side with his massive forehand.   

    Surprisingly, this is only the second time Cilic has reached the second week at Wimbledon, and with this exciting win, could give his next-round opponent (most likely Andy Murray) something to think about. 

    Cilic proved that his big serving game belongs at Wimbledon.