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MELBOURNE, Australia - Serena Williams lost two of four singles matches in her preparations for the Australian Open, while Maria Sharapova won the Brisbane International. Gary Cahill England Jersey .Despite those contrasting results for the top two women in tennis, neither player was reading too much into their form lines a few days from Mondays start of the first Grand Slam of the year.Williams wasnt pleased with her two singles losses at the Hopman Cup team event in Perth, including in straight sets to Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, but said Saturday there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.Im never really happy about my practice or preparation, the top-seeded Williams said Saturday. So maybe thats a good sign. I definitely feel better now than I did a couple weeks ago. But every day I can see something coming through.Second-seeded Sharapova said although she played well at Brisbane and had a tough final against Ana Ivanovic, every weeks a surprise.You cant be overly negative; you cant be overly positive, Sharapova said Saturday. I wanted to start off well. I thought I did many things well. But Im not going into next week throwing flowers at myself or anything. Im starting from scratch. Im hungry. Im determined to do better.Sharapova, last years French Open winner and the 2008 champion at Melbourne Park, lost in the fourth round here to Dominika Cibulkova last year, saying she was affected by a hip injury.Williams also exited last year in the fourth round, losing to Ivanovic.Last year I felt really good, was playing well ... feeling amazing on the court, Williams said. This year I feel a little off. But I feel off in every Grand Slam. Last year, that didnt work out for me, so maybe this is different.Williams will play Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in the first round — I heard her first name was Alison, Williams said, preferring not to try to pronounce her opponents last name.Sharapova has drawn an as-yet undetermined qualifier, as has Ivanovic. The two could meet in the semifinals of their half of the draw, while Williams could meet Cibulkova or close friend Caroline Wozniacki en route to a semifinal possibly against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner who won four singles titles last year to move back into the top five, said shes confident coming into Melbourne Park. She and Sharapova will play their first matches Monday.I really felt I made big steps towards winning more matches, beating top players, Ivanovic said of her 2014 season. These kinds of things you sort of have to have in place in order to do well at the big events. I feel like Im ready for the next step. Harry Maguire Jersey . - Aaron Rodgers makes tough throws that can leave fans of the Green Bay Packers speechless. Phil Jones England Jersey . -- DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 16 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings snap a seven-game losing streak by defeating the Chicago Bulls 99-70 on Monday night.WINNIPEG -- Claude Noel was fired as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday morning, but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff revealed the axe began swinging on Tuesday night. Cheveldayoff told reporters at a press conference Sunday afternoon that he first contacted newly hired Jets head coach Paul Maurice on Tuesday after the team played poorly again, mustering only 14 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Lightning. "I ended up reaching out to Paul after the Tampa game, just to see if I was going to go in a direction like that if he had an interesta" said Cheveldayoff, who also dismissed assistant Perry Pearn. "At that point in time, it still wasnt something that I was ready to do, but (Saturday) night I went to ownership and talked to them about making the change." The Jets lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 on Saturday, giving up four goals in the first nine minutes of the second period. Fans booed the team off the ice. "Its not just the last two games, it is the consistency factor," Cheveldayoff said, adding the team kept taking a step forward and then two steps back to stay around .500. The club is 19-23-5 and 10 points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The loss also put the Jets on a season-worst five-game losing streak, matching the longest regulation-game losing skid since the team moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta prior to the 2011-2012 season. After getting the go-ahead from Jets owner Mark Chipman to fire Noel, Cheveldayoff said he called Maurice again and they reached a verbal agreement on a contract until the end of this season. "We dont have anything on paper, we have a handshake over the phone," Cheveldayoff said. "Hes flying in here (Sunday) night and going in that fashion. Again, hes very passionate about getting here. When we talked about what he would need, basically it was like, What time is the flight?" Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Maurice had been working as a TV analyst for TSN & NHL Network after spending the 2012-13 season as head coach of Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the Kontinental Hockey League. The club earned a 27-13-12 record and missed the playoffs. Maurice inherits a Jets team that has struggled in its third season in Winnipeg, thanks in part to inconsistent goaltending and defensive breakdowns. The 46-year-old has been behind the bench for 1,084 games as an NHL head coach. His first game leading the Jets will be Monday at MTS Centre against the Phoenix Coyotes. This will be the third franchise he has coached, after the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He got the Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup final and made five total playoff appearances with Carolina. "Hiring Paul Maurice is something that we feel very good about as far as the opportunity that we have to hire an experienced National Hockey League coach to come in here and begin putting his stamp on the team, and also on the evaluation process that were all going to be going through," said Cheveldayoff, who was given a contract extension last September through the 2017-18 season. Hes never worked with Maurice, but the hockey world is small and his background checks produced good references. "There was one common theme; (hes) extremely professional, extremely prepared, extremely knowledgeable about the game and a guy that is very direct in one-on-one with his people and his players," Cheveldayoff said. Cheveldayoff, who called Noel a "special" and "caring" person, said he met with him and Pearn Sunday morning at MTS Centre to tell them theyd been let go. The GM says Noel was "very respectful" and theyll meet again in the coming days. Hired after the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season, Noel went 80-79-18 during his tenure with the Jets. Kyle Walker England Jersey. He had been given a one-year extension last June through the 2014-15 season. The team was scheduled to practice late Sunday morning at another local rink, but it was cancelled when Cheveldayoff drove there after the dismissals to give players the news. Captain Andrew Ladd and his teammates shouldered the blame for the coaching changes. "I think it always comes as a shock," Ladd said after the team meeting. "I dont think anyone expected it this morning so its not an easy day. Two good people lose their jobs. Ultimately, it came down to the performance of all the guys in here. Its tough for everyone." Forward Olli Jokinen, a veteran in his 16th NHL season, agreed the players should feel responsible Noel and Pearn had to pay the price for the teams shortcomings. "All of us should be embarrassed that were at the point we have to change the coach," he said. Maurices familiarity with a hockey-crazy market such as Toronto should bode well in Winnipeg, where players are heavily scrutinized by the media and criticized by fans who pack the sold-out MTS Centre. "This is a tough market to play," Jokinen said. "Any Canadian market you play, you know expectations are high. Youve got a lot of media attention, youve got 15,000 GMs watching the games and another couple hundred thousand at home. "So its a place, or any Canadian market, that you as a player you have to put all that aside and focus on doing your job the best you can. Thats all that you can do." He sensed, though, that players were getting easily frustrated and playing "a little bit scared, afraid of making the mistakes." Chevelydayoff, who said his own job "is still a work in progress," admitted he also bears some responsibility for the players he gave Noel to work with. "Ive sat back over the course of 24 hours or whatever and sit there and say, Can I do something else? What else can I do?" he said. "But what I have to be cognizant of is that I dont do something that pushes the franchise backwards from an asset standpoint. Again, this is not without responsibility on my side here, too." The players acknowledged theyll be auditioning for their jobs, although none have played for Maurice. Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who moved to right wing for the game against the Blue Jackets, denied Noels message was getting old, but said a new guy in charge might help the team. "I think so," Byfuglien said. "Just someone coming in and no one really knowing him, it could be good for us. "Just getting a new face, a different guy with different attitudes, see how it goes." Retired former Hurricanes goaltender Kevin Weekes, now an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada, gave a glowing endorsement for Maurice to a Canadian Press reporter. "In my entire career, he was the best coach that I played for, both technically, his ability to relate to players, how he treated people, his preparation, you name it." Weekes said. "He was the best coach I played for in the National Hockey League. I played for some good ones, Ive been around a lot of really good people, but hands-down hes the best coach I played for." Cheveldayoff couldnt say whether other changes are on the horizon for the Jets, but he thinks hiring Maurice is a step in the right direction. "We believe that we are underachieving," Cheveldayoff said. "Now its up to the players in some respects to show what theyre all about. "But at the end of the day, we have to take a hard, long look at what other steps there are maybe to move forward." Wholesale NFL Autographed Jerseys Cheap NFL T-shirts Cheap Authentic Jerseys Cheap NFL Hoodies China NFL Hoodies China NFL Jerseys China NFL Gear ' ' '