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PARIS -- Five months after his first French Open title and completing a career Grand Slam in Paris, Novak Djokovics reign over mens tennis could be about to end in the City of Lights.Djokovic, a three-time defending champion, lost in the Paris Masters quarterfinals on Friday, leaving his No. 1 ranking open to being snatched by Andy Murray.The Briton came back from 6-1 down in the opening-set tiebreak to beat?Tomas Berdych?7-6 (9), 7-5 later for a semifinal spot at the indoor tournament, and can rise from No. 2 to 1 in the ATP list for the first time if he reaches the final.Ive never been in that position before, I dont know how Ill deal with it, said Murray, who faces either Milos Raonic Saturday following the Canadians 6-2, 7-6 (4) win over?Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The half hour, 45 minutes before a match can be tough sometimes.My goal wasnt to get No. 1 this year. I was looking at the beginning of next year to do it. If it happens this week then great, Ill try this week as best I can.So dominant on the Parisian red clay last June, Djokovic was far from his best on super-fast carpet and was beaten by Marin Cilic 6-4, 7-6 (2), his first loss against the former U.S. Open champion in 15 matchups.Hampered by a lingering right hand injury, Djokovic made uncharacteristic mistakes from the baseline, called the tournament doctor during the first set, struggled with consistency on his serve, and destroyed his hopes of a comeback when he served for the second set at 5-4, hit two double faults, and was broken.He fought until the end though, saving two match points in the 12th game with a fine backhand volley and crosscourt forehand winner, the rare moments when he looked like his usual self. But Cilic, who struck nine aces overall, served extremely well to prevail in the tiebreaker and end Djokovics 17-match winning streak in Paris.I wasnt on the level that I could have been on, Djokovic said. I was also, in this kind of circumstances and with this level of play, in a good position to take the match into the third set, and then two double faults. Just in important moments I wasnt able to deliver. He is a deserved winner.Djokovic has been the dominant player for six seasons, and held the top spot for 122 consecutive weeks. But his form has been erratic over the past few months, and he did not play in Paris with the confidence he showed here last year, when he crushed Murray 6-2, 6-4 in the final.After winning the elusive French Open for the first time in June, his form yo-yoed. He lost in the third round at Wimbledon to American Sam Querrey, and in the first round of the Olympics to Juan Martin del Potro. At the U.S Open, he won the first set in the final but Stan Wawrinka rallied to beat him.He admitted his long-awaited victory at Roland Garros took a toll on him.Of course, there was pride and satisfaction in the success I have had with my team, but in the other hand, it was also very exhausting, he said. At a certain point, I had to reach this kind of phase where I had to reflect and say, `OK, I have played on the highest possible level for that much. The drop of form is normal in sports. Im not too concerned about how the future will go for me.If he wins the title, Murray, who has spent 76 weeks at No. 2, will become the 26th player to reach No. 1 since the rankings started in 1973.Hes definitely a player who deserves that, Djokovic said. Undoubtedly, much respect for what he has done. We have known each other since very, very early days. We were, I think, 11 years old when we first played against each other. And to see how he has raised his level in the last 12 months is quite extraordinary.Cilic, who qualified for the ATP Finals this week, will take on American John Isner in the semifinals.Isner won a hard-fought all-American contest against Jack Sock 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-4 after throwing a big tantrum. Isner looked set for a straight-sets win when he served a break up at 4-3 in the second set but lost his cool after a foot-fault call.Isner, who had not dropped his serve once since the start of the week, shouted at umpire Damien Dumusois, hit a double fault, and was broken twice in a row.I got a bit flustered out there. I just havent seen that type of foot fault called. It was over the center line, Isner said. The second set was gone like that (snapping fingers). Thats the first time I have ever had that called on me in my career. It was a bit of a shock.The change in momentum did not last long and Isner, who hit 17 aces, capitalized on Socks mistakes to break him twice early in the decider. Cheap George Springer Jersey . -- Jimmie Johnson held off a teammate, passed a pair of Hall of Famers, and dominated once more at Dover. Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys . The Australian is competing in his final season in Formula One and still looking for his first win this year. He will look to end Vettels run of six straight race wins on Sunday. Webber, who is fifth in the championship, earned his second pole from the past three races and 13th of his career. http://www.cheapastrosjerseys.com/?tag=cheap-justin-verlander-jersey . No. 13-seeded John Isner and No. 21 Philipp Kohlschreiber were among six players who dropped out of the tournament on Tuesday, joining No. 12 seed Tommy Haas and two other players who withdrew on Monday. Cheap Josh Reddick Jersey . Third-seeded Murray had the easiest path to victory on New Years Eve, barely breaking a sweat during his 6-0, 6-0 win over 2,129th-ranked Qatari wildcard recipient Mousa Shanan Zayed. Cheap Astros Jerseys .Y. - Rob Manfred was promoted Monday to Major League Baseballs chief operating officer, which may make him a candidate to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner. Wrestlers Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano and Julianna Pena might be dominating the Octagon these days, but the next generation of MMA hopefuls is nipping at their heels -- even if they dont know it yet.We scoured the rankings and spoke with MMA insider and Invicta FC matchmaker Julie Kedzie about who could follow in the footsteps of these top women fighters, and these are the 5 young fighters we have our eye on.The Next Big (Little) Thing: Alexa Grasso, 22, MMAIf youve never seen Alexa Grasso in the cage, it can be hard to imagine the sweet-faced, soft-spoken girl from Guadalajara, Mexico, dominating in hand-to-hand combat. Then you look at her record (7-0) and watch her clips (the first-round TKO of Alida Gray at Invicta FC 11?is particularly impressive) and the incongruity starts to resolve.Grasso the fighter has a lurch to her step that puts her strawweight opponents on their back foot; its a little unsettling, for a number of reasons. Her flurries are merciless -- Grays TKO came after a particularly brutal ground-and-pound. Dana White himself has called her a badass.And then she gets on the phone, shy, careful about her English, and says: I know theres a lot of fighters who like to talk bad about their opponents and say nasty things, and I want to change that. I want to be the kind of fighter who can show the world and everybody that you dont have to be that kind of person.Initially scared off by the violence of martial arts, Grasso came around with the encouragement of her father. She began her training at age 15 in Muay Thai at her uncles gym. Thats also where she met her best friend, Invicta bantamweight Irene Aldana.A shoulder injury this past fall kept Grasso out of Invicta FC 14 and 15. She was close to fighting Stephanie Eggink in March at Invicta 16 but Grasso broke a finger. The inability to train left her down.Grasso says she didnt even really get a taste for the physical punishment of MMA until about three years ago, when she fought Karina Rodriguez at Xtreme Kombat 20 in Mexico. Grasso won, but she took a beating, ending the fight with a bloodied nose after sustaining kicks and knees to the face.That was a really, really hard fight for me and that was the one where I tested myself, Grasso said.While she makes no secret of the fact that shes gunning for the Invicta title and the UFC, shes aware of how much she still has left to learn. Everybody thinks that Im a veteran and Ive read comments about how I should be better in many ways, she said. But I only have seven fights. Im just a blue belt, and kind of want to say, Hey, Im just out here starting my career!Which is all to say, when she headlines Invicta 18 on July 29 against Jodie Esquibel, shell come in hungry and, as ever, cheerful.The Prodigy: Mizuki Inoue, 21, MMAWhen Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue was in fourth grade, she attended her brothers MMA class and was immediately drawn to the sport. Why? Because basically anything goes [in MMA], Mizuki said through a translator.By 16, Inoue, who goes by Mizuki in the cage, was fighting professionally -- and winning -- for a Japanese promotion company called Jewels. Within three years, Invicta FC came calling, and it was then that the teenager realized the industry had taken notice. Since then, I have set my goals to become an Invicta champion, she said.Not that the transition has come without a degree of culture shock. When I first started fighting for Invicta, I was very surprised about how big the stage production was, she said. Everything looked bright and shiny to me, so it was a really good experience. And also when I come to the U.S., the fans are very exciting. Theyre very loud -- it pushes me so much.While shes 11-4 overall as a pro, Mizuki has a split record of 2-2 in Invicta bouts, with decision losses to Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Alexa Grasso. For so young a fighter, however, that may not be such a bad thing.The truth of the matter is, those fights could have gone either way, said Kedzie. Its good to get those fights out of your system and understand they were close. Her last fight with Lacey Schuckman was insanely good. She destroyed her. She was really composed and much more aggressive than shes been.According to manager Shu Hirata, the UFC has already noticed the young phenom and offered her a spot in the strawweight division when it was first created. After discussing it with her trainer, Inoue decided to remain with Invicta to gain more experience -- at least for another year. Shell have her chance on July 29, when she faces off against Lynn Alvarez at Invicta FC 18.And while she does see herself as a champion-to-be at the all-female promotion, shes taking each step as it comes.When you look at my record, theres a lot of fights on my resume, but I still dont feel like a veteran yet, Mizuki said. Im still improving, and Im on my way to the title fight, but I still feel maybe its too early.The Double Threat: Tiffany van Soest, 27, Muay Thai and MMAIf I didnt fight I would surf a lot more, said kickboxer and newly minted MMA fighter Tiffany van Soest from her home in Bali. Theres a lot to do here -- volcanoes, hiking, waterfalls.The Torrrance, California, native speaks with an intensity one wouldnt expect from someone living in paradise.ddddddddddddTruth is, its hard to imagine shes ever quite still. Van Soest splits her time between Bali, where she trains, teaches muay Thai and volunteers as a martial arts coach at a local orphanage, and California, where she does pre-fight camp.The former Lion Fight super bantamweight and featherweight transitioned to Muay Thai in her teens after spending most of her childhood practicing karate. From then on, she was nearly unstoppable, amassing a 10-1 amateur record and going 15-2-1 as a pro with nine titles by the age of 27. She even squeezed in a little amateur MMA (1-1).But as good as her record was, it was difficult to support herself financially. Its part of the reason she moved to Bali, where the cost of living is lower.I felt good about my accomplishments, van Soest said. As long as Ive been doing it, and for how old I am, I thought I should be making a lot more.Shortly after Invicta FC began courting her, premier kickboxing promotion Glory reached out as well.?Faced with choosing between a new challenge and her longtime passion, she opted for both.Glory is, hands-down, the biggest, most prestigious kickboxing promotion in the world, she says. When they approached me, I felt like I was getting what I really deserved for the work I put in. It made me feel like a true professional athlete.Shes already made her Glory premiere, defeating Emma Hasshass by unanimous decision at Glory 30 in May. Her first pro MMA fight is expected in September. I think her transition [to MMA] is going to be very smooth and go over very well, Kedzie said.Asked about a timeline for making it to UFC, van Soest said: I want to make sure Im ready because those girls are the best in the world. I dont want to get there just to say I got there. When I get there Im going to be the champion, so I want to make sure Im fully ready, that my skills are fully developed to not only compete at that level, but to dominate.The Veteran: Ava Knight, 27, boxerThe Lady of Boxing started her journey to five championship belts as a quiet 13-year-old in Chico, California. Between the ages of 14 and 18, the flyweight racked up 28 amateur wins and only four losses -- impressive considering how few fights women were getting in the early 2000s.Going pro was easier at first; she took newbies and champs alike, often traveling to Mexico to do so. But the 14-2-4 champ learned something along the way that complicated her career trajectory.Beating the good girls, the undefeated girls, winning world championships -- it just started getting harder and harder because now you feel like youre worth something, Knight said. As a woman, nobody was treating me like I had that value. Ive spent the last few years trying to hold my value but still fight. Its hard.Shes turned down a number of low-paying fights and now has her eyes set on a new challenge: MMA, where she says women are valued. She recently caught the eye of UFC and NFL insider Jay Glazer, who invited her to train at his gym once she finishes up touring with Joe Jonas (who shes training, not singing with).Its not that Im done with boxing, she said, I would love to beat up all these prospects that they think are great. But what does that do for me? Im just beating up the girls that are trying to make it in the sport. Where in MMA its this whole new field of girls, but I know I can beat them.Only 27, shes considered a veteran, which may put her at an advantage against young MMA prospects who cant handle the limelight. As Kedzie put it, I like individuals in this sport who can stand on their own two feet and try to push their own boundaries. Someone with that much talent can go extremely far in MMA.The Olympian: Helen Maroulis, 24, wrestlerOkay, so technically we dont know if Helen Maroulis has given much thought to a possible MMA transition. She has a lot on her plate these days, after all -- shes representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics.The 116-pound wrestler has enough national championship medals to cover a wall, including the 2015 World Wrestling Championship title and two World Cup championships. Shes ranked No. 1 on Team USA in her weight category.Like a lot of female MMA fighters, Maroulis grew up fighting boys -- through elementary, middle and high school. Once in college, she took four Womens College Wrestling Association titles and barely missed making qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. She won this years qualifier in Mongolia to book a ticket to Rio.MMA and UFC in particular have a long history of welcoming former wrestlers into its ranks. Theres something about female wrestlers in particular that I think, God you must be so tough, says Kedzie. The sport grinds you up and spits you out.Theres something about how [Maroulis] competes that I just find fascinating, and I want to keep watching her. I think shed make a really good transition to MMA.Heres hoping Maroulis agrees. For now, we wish her the best in Rio. Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Wholesale NFL T-shirts Cheap NFL Jerseys Throwback Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China ' ' '


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