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Unable to play in the U.S. Open a year ago because of a doping suspension, Marin Cilic is now the tournament’s champion.

Croatia’s Cilic won his first Grand Slam title by beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday at Flushing Meadows, using 17 aces — including four in one game — and the same powerful groundstrokes that helped him eliminate Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

“This is [from] all the hard work in these last several years — and especially this last year,” Cilic said during the on-court ceremony, when he kissed his silver trophy and collected a check for US$3-million. (Photos: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images, Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.They tracked down would-be winners and somehow got them back, prolonging points that involved 10 or 20 strokes or more, extended by Djokovic’s slides and splits or Murray’s gifted anticipation. After one 30-shot masterpiece on his way to victory, Djokovic raised his right fist, bellowed, “Come on!” and windmilled his arms to rile up the crowd.Eventually, the physically demanding action proved too much for a fading Murray, and Djokovic pulled away to win 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 and reach the tournament’s semi-finals for the eighth consecutive year.“I knew coming into tonight’s match that it’s going to be tough, that he’s going to go for his shots, and the more aggressive one would win it,” the No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Djokovic said. “I’m glad I managed to stay fit in the end and pull it through.”It took a while for him to push out front in a 3-hour, 32-minute match that ended after 1 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Through a pair of back-and-forth sets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray put on a display befitting a matchup of past U.S. Open champions.

They tracked down would-be winners and somehow got them back, prolonging points that involved 10 or 20 strokes or more, extended by Djokovic’s slides and splits or Murray’s gifted anticipation. After one 30-shot masterpiece on his way to victory, Djokovic raised his right fist, bellowed, “Come on!” and windmilled his arms to rile up the crowd.

Eventually, the physically demanding action proved too much for a fading Murray, and Djokovic pulled away to win 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 and reach the tournament’s semi-finals for the eighth consecutive year.

“I knew coming into tonight’s match that it’s going to be tough, that he’s going to go for his shots, and the more aggressive one would win it,” the No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Djokovic said. “I’m glad I managed to stay fit in the end and pull it through.”

It took a while for him to push out front in a 3-hour, 32-minute match that ended after 1 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays wanted to give Derek Jeter a distinctly Canadian retirement present. So they decided to put him up in a “castle” in the Rockies.During a ceremony before Sunday’s game — Jeter’s final visit to the Rogers Centre with the New York Yankees — the Jays announced the gift they’d been keeping a secret from all inquisitors: three nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs — “where the scenery takes centre stage and Mother Nature is the architect for adventures.” They billed it as “a Canadian castle of the Rockies experience.” (Photo: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

The Toronto Blue Jays wanted to give Derek Jeter a distinctly Canadian retirement present. So they decided to put him up in a “castle” in the Rockies.

During a ceremony before Sunday’s game — Jeter’s final visit to the Rogers Centre with the New York Yankees — the Jays announced the gift they’d been keeping a secret from all inquisitors: three nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs — “where the scenery takes centre stage and Mother Nature is the architect for adventures.” They billed it as “a Canadian castle of the Rockies experience.” (Photo: Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Kevin Ward Jr. was remembered as a “small-town boy” who loved his sport during Thursday’s funeral for the 20-year-old dirt-track racer whose car was hit by one driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School auditorium for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of someone who began racing at a young age.

“Even if he had rough day, he always had a smile,” a tearful Dylan Swiernick said of his best friend and car-obsessed buddy. “We were just two small-town boys trying to make it in the big world. He was always working on something. It was unbelievable how smart he was.”

After the service, as Ward’s casket was taken to the hearse for the short trip to the cemetery, mourners let loose helium balloons in orange, white and black, his racing colours. (Photos: Mike Groll/The Associated Press, Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings were this close to tying the New York Rangers late in the third period of Game 4.Henrik Lundqvist, who faced 41 shots, including a lopsided third period in which the Kings outshot the home side 15-1, was both brilliant and incredibly lucky — yes, there’s that word again — in erecting a wall that just barely held, allowing the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory that let them live to see another day in the Stanley Cup final.Read the story here. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings were this close to tying the New York Rangers late in the third period of Game 4.

Henrik Lundqvist, who faced 41 shots, including a lopsided third period in which the Kings outshot the home side 15-1, was both brilliant and incredibly lucky — yes, there’s that word again — in erecting a wall that just barely held, allowing the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory that let them live to see another day in the Stanley Cup final.

Read the story here. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Former Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, front left, joins Yogi Berra, who is honoured by the U.S. Navy for his service 70 years ago in the D-Day Invasion during a ceremony, Friday, June 6, 2014,  at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, N.J. Berra was also presented with a quilt and a medal by Cmdr. Jim Wallace. (Photos: Rich Schultz/The Associated Press)

One game into the New York-Los Angeles Stanley Cup final, we’ve already had plenty of celebrity sightings. Here are Will Ferrell and Larry David at Game 1 between the Rangers and Kings at the Staples Center. The Kings won 3-2 in overtime. (Photos by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

'It hurts more when you're close': Max Pacioretty was sitting with his hands on his thighs in a quiet corner of a quiet dressing room. Discarded balls of hockey tape were on both sides of where he sat, a used white towel was crumpled on a seat nearby, speckled with someone’s blood.

Max Pacioretty was sitting with his hands on his thighs in a quiet corner of a quiet dressing room. Discarded balls of hockey tape were on both sides of where he sat, a used white towel was crumpled on a seat nearby, speckled with someone’s blood.

“It hurts,” said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. “And it hurts more when you’re close.” (Photos: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press, Frank Franklin II/The Associated Press)

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he does not expect the NHL will suspend defenceman John Moore for a hit that knocked an opponent woozy on Tuesday night.The NHL has a hearing with Moore on Wednesday, the day after he caught Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise with a hard, high body check in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.Moore was ejected from the game.“I don’t see what else it could warrant,” Vigneault told reporters before flying with the team back to New York on Wednesday. “But I’ve been surprised before.”Moore appeared to drive his shoulder into Weise’s head in the third period.“The guy was admiring his pass a little bit,” Vigneault said. (Photo: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he does not expect the NHL will suspend defenceman John Moore for a hit that knocked an opponent woozy on Tuesday night.

The NHL has a hearing with Moore on Wednesday, the day after he caught Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise with a hard, high body check in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Moore was ejected from the game.

“I don’t see what else it could warrant,” Vigneault told reporters before flying with the team back to New York on Wednesday. “But I’ve been surprised before.”

Moore appeared to drive his shoulder into Weise’s head in the third period.

“The guy was admiring his pass a little bit,” Vigneault said. (Photo: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

In the basement of her home in small-town Saskatchewan, Darlene Tokarski would roll up a pair of socks — usually a pair of her husband’s sturdy work socks — and fire away at her young son. He demanded that she play, and that he be the goaltender in a game they came to call “sockball.”
It was all Dustin Tokarski wanted to do.
“I could get him to do anything for sockball,” Darlene said on Friday. “Clean his room. Rake leaves. Do this. Do that. It was, ‘well, as soon as you do this, we’ll play sockball.’ And it was done.’ ”
Sockball evolved into hockey, and hockey evolved into an obsession, one that has carried him through a career marked by international victories, professional disappointment and, within the last week, a burst of stardom and opportunity. The sockball veteran is making a name for himself in the National Hockey League playoffs.
(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

In the basement of her home in small-town Saskatchewan, Darlene Tokarski would roll up a pair of socks — usually a pair of her husband’s sturdy work socks — and fire away at her young son. He demanded that she play, and that he be the goaltender in a game they came to call “sockball.”

It was all Dustin Tokarski wanted to do.

“I could get him to do anything for sockball,” Darlene said on Friday. “Clean his room. Rake leaves. Do this. Do that. It was, ‘well, as soon as you do this, we’ll play sockball.’ And it was done.’ ”

Sockball evolved into hockey, and hockey evolved into an obsession, one that has carried him through a career marked by international victories, professional disappointment and, within the last week, a burst of stardom and opportunity. The sockball veteran is making a name for himself in the National Hockey League playoffs.

(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)