s made (of) early on, trying to get things together, saidin
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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. 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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Chicago Bears likely will be without quarterback Jay Cutler and several defensive starters when they visit the Dallas Cowboys while trying to avoid a second 0-3 start in as many seasons under coach John Fox.Not that Fox is putting much focus on the lengthy injury list .You dont have any choice, Fox said. Nobody comes to rescue you. Theyre not going to cancel the game. I dont get much into it.And not that the former Denver coach is particularly stressed about another 0-2 start. Four years ago, his Broncos went from 2/3 to 13-3.So its a start. Its not an ending, the coach said. A lot of times on the outside its a crisis or carnival and we dont look at it that way. Its two games.If Cutler is sidelined Sunday night with a sprained right thumb that forced him out during last weeks 29-14 loss to Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer is in line for his 27th career start with his fourth different team -- and his first against the Cowboys.The eighth-year pro was with Houston last season when the Texans rallied from 2-5 to a playoff spot, although he threw four interceptions in a 30-0 wild-card loss to Kansas City and wound up with the Bears.I think a lot is made (of) early on, trying to get things together, said Hoyer, whose career record is 15-11. But its a long season. Thats the biggest thing to stress.The Bears lost to a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz of the Eagles last week and face another one this week. Dak Prescott, the third-stringer when training camp started, is filling in for Tony Romo after the 36-year-olds fourth back injury in less than four years. Backup Kellen Moore broke an ankle in camp.Prescott, with an NFL-record 75 pass attempts without an interception to start a career, led a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter of a 27-23 win at Washington.Now hes trying to double the number of wins the Cowboys (1-1) had without Romo in 14 games over three seasons before the 23-year-old joined them as a fourth-round pick.I just take a lot of pride in what I do, in my job, said Prescott, the first quarterback drafted by Dallas since 2009. My job is to play quarterback for this organization and to prepare each and every day to do my best, so thats more of what I take pride in.Things to consider in the Bears first trip to Arlington since a 34-18 romp four years ago on a Monday night. Cowboys defenssive coordinator Rod Marinelli had the same job with Chicago then, and the Bears intercepted Romo five times.dddddddddddd.SOUR HOME: The Cowboys have lost eight straight home games dating to last years opener. But Romo has missed seven of them, and he didnt finish the other one. Romos second broken left collarbone of the season came in a Thanksgiving loss to Carolina . I didnt even know it was really that bad until you all just said something about it, said receiver Cole Beasley, the team leader with 13 catches.MORE MISSING BEARS: Although the Cutler injury grabs the headlines, the defense is hurting more. Linebacker Lamarr Houston tore a ligament in his left knee in the loss to the Eagles, and linebacker Danny Trevathan had thumb surgery this week. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman missed some practices after spraining an ankle against the Eagles. Safety Adrian Amos and nickel back Bryce Callahan went into the concussion protocol, and thats just the short list.THEY FOUND DEZ: Receiver Dez Bryant led the Cowboys with seven catches for 102 yards against Washington after getting just one for 8 yards in an opening loss to the New York Giants. It didnt change Bryants approach to his rookie quarterback. Dez has been great since Ive gotten here and since his one catch last week to his catches this week, said Prescott, who hasnt thrown a touchdown pass but has a rushing TD.HANDING OFF: No matter whos at quarterback, Fox would like to commit to the run. The Bears are tied for 25th in the NFL at 68.5 yards rushing per game. Chicago getting behind in games didnt help. I think any quarterback, I dont care what status they are, will tell you the running game is one of their best friends, Fox said.DAK IN PRIME TIME: Prescott gets his first prime-time start, and perhaps his only one for a couple of years if Romo has recovered from the broken bone in his back for Dallas next Sunday night game Oct. 30 against Philadelphia, also at home. Every games prime time to me, Prescott said. But I mean, Sunday night? Yeah, its a little different I guess. 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