first_img(REUTERS) Novak Djokovic made an immense statement in his bid to rule men’s tennis again when he defeated Andy Murray, the man who deposed him as world number one, 6-3 5-7 6-4 in an epic Qatar Open final in Doha yesterday.Looking back to near his peerless best at times in a game of searing quality, the Serbian missed out on three match points and had to repel a roaring Murray comeback before ending the Briton’s 28-match, five-tournament winning streak.In their first meeting since Murray won their season-ending climax at the ATP World Tour finals, the Briton ran into a rejuvenated Djokovic who, despite having problems with his racket hand and receiving two warnings for his behaviour, prevailed thrillingly in their 36th contest.The world number two said it was “the dream start” to 2017 in his build-up to the defence of the Australian Open title later this month and defeat provided food for thought for Murray, who lost for the 25th time against his old rival.“It was close, a very physical battle. All the way to the last shot, you never know with Andy. It’s no strange occurrence for us to play three sets for three hours,” Djokovic told Eurosport.“It means a lot. For the last three months of 2016, I haven’t felt that confident on court and didn’t play that consistent. But to start 2017 with a win over the world number one and my biggest rival was a dream start so I’m hoping I can get the best out of it.”Djokovic had looked out of sorts as he struggled to tame Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in Friday’s semi-final and he started inconsistently again, also requiring treatment to a bleeding right thumb in the third game.Yet Djokovic began playing with an authority that he had not displayed all week and was so frustrated after losing one 29-shot rally that he was warned for hitting the ball away petulantly towards his box.Still, he pressurised Murray, making his breakthrough in the eighth game as the Scot surrendered the crucial break with a mis-hit forehand.When Djokovic cashed in on a sloppy service game, in which Murray delivered two double faults, to take a crucial 4-3 lead in the second set, he looked unstoppable.He seemed certain to wrap up the victory serving at 5-4 but a couple of missed backhands and courageous aggression from Murray led to him missing out on his three match points. The Briton pounced to break serve — a feat he has now achieved in an impressive 112 successive matches.Djokovic received a point penalty for smashing his racket which handed the 11th game to Murray and the Scot rammed home his ascendancy by breaking again to take the second set.Yet just when Murray seemed to be taking control physically, with Djokovic looking increasingly weary, the Serbian produced an inspirational game to break to love at 3-3.When he served for the match again, he made no mistake, crashing a forehand winner to seal victory.last_img read more

first_img Published on April 18, 2013 at 12:39 am Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2 Christmas Eve was decision day in the Megill household. Ray Megill was a star at Maryland in the mid-2000s, but Brian Megill would decide between Syracuse and UMD.He still has the wrapping paper in his room – Maryland on one side, SU on the other – listing the pros and cons for each school as he weighed his decision.“It was Syracuse, Maryland,” Brian said, using his hands to indicate SU sat just inches above UMD. “It was really right there. … It was a phone call away.”He could have followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Terrapins.He nearly did, too. His original plan was that if the list came out even, he would choose Maryland to live near his brother. But Ray never pushed him toward Maryland.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I told him, ‘Don’t make this decision because I’m here,’” Ray said. “ … I’m all about making your own decisions.”But Brian had his own plan in mind — he would join the Orange. Blaze his own trail. Create his own legacy.Four years later, Brian is nearing the end of one of the finest careers by a defender in Syracuse history. When the Orange travels to Washington, D.C., on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tilt with Georgetown, a game Ray had hoped to be in attendance for if not for a scheduling conflict, Brian will play the penultimate regular-season game of his storied SU career.A pair of All-Big East honors, an All-American honor and a Tewaaraton Trophy nomination already dot Megill’s sparkling resume, with more of the same likely to come at the end of this season. But none of it would have happened without his older brother.“He’s a huge influence. He’s the reason why I play lacrosse,” Brian said. “He’s also the reason I’m here at Syracuse and not at Maryland.”Ray’s career with the Terps was just as spectacular. He was a three-time All-American and set the standard for what a Megill could do on defense.But Brian never wanted to do just what his brother did. They played the same position, and a career with the Terrapins would have led to inevitable comparisons between the two. With the Orange, he could create his own legacy, and the one he’s made is just as spectacular as his brother’s.But they get it done in different ways. Brian plays an aggressive style. Ray was all about body positioning and creating opportunities in transition. But they’re both leaders.“We communicate a lot on the field,” Ray said. “We’re always vocal.”As a freshman, Brian started all 15 games for the Orange’s top-ranked defense. He started all 17 as a sophomore as SU again boasted a top-five defense.Then, Joel White and John Galloway graduated. Megill went from being a piece to being the focal point. And he’s performed splendidly.Aside from struggling in the Orange’s most recent game — a loss to Alex Love and Hobart — Megill has been nearly flawless, and has turned Syracuse’s defense into one of the best in the country, even playing in front of inexperienced goaltenders Bobby Wardwell and Dominic Lamolinara. It’s given him a chance to exhibit that Megill leadership.“It’s Megill’s defense, we both know that,” Lamolinara said. “We’re not trying to do anything more than we need to.”Brian’s eyes light up at the very mention of his older brother. The usually business-like defender can’t help but smile when he thinks about the profound effect Ray had on his life and lacrosse career.“He’s been a trailblazer for me,” Brian said. “As much as I say I don’t want to follow in his footsteps, I wouldn’t mind it.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more