Only two matches were played in the Serbian Open with the second seed remaining on track to meet local hero Novak Djokovic in the Belgrade final when he beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-3 6-3.
What is happening now is complete discrimination against us Andrey Rublev
It proved a very one-sided match from the Muscovite who required just 74-minutes to secure his semi-final place.
“I was a bit stressed because the weather was really tough. The conditions were so windy. The ball was moving a lot, so I needed to slow down, take more care. I felt I was playing well. I felt like I had control of the ball and I could not take that many risks because of the wind”, said Rublev.
Rublev set up a semi-final against Italy’s flamboyant Fabio Fognini, who edged past Germany’s Oscar Otte 7-5 6-4.
Earlier, Rublev, following his second-round victory over Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka responded to Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarussian players from The Championships 2022 by describing it as being “not logical” and suggested that donating the prize money to the relief efforts in the Ukraine, would have had a greater impact.
“What is happening now is complete discrimination against us,” he told the attending media
“The reasons they gave us had no sense, they were not logical. Banning Russian or Belarusian players… will not change anything.
“To give all the prize money would have a more positive effect to humanitarian help, to the families who are suffering, to the kids who are suffering.
“I think that would do something. Tennis will, in that case, be the first and only sport who donates that amount of money and it will be Wimbledon so they will take all the glory.”
Rublev has publicly declared he is against the war, writing ‘no war please’ on the camera lens after a match in Dubai last February.
In March, he said sports and politics should not be mixed when Nigel Huddleston, the United Kingdom’s government’s sport, tourism and heritage minister, first suggested Russian and Belarusian players should be banned if they didn’t denounce their country’s invasion of the Ukraine. Only then would they be allowed to compete at Wimbledon.
In the event the Club, after much deliberation no doubt, opted for a full ban which they announced last Wednesday in full expectation of a backlash, the first-time players have suffered because of their nationality since the immediate post-World War II era, when German and Japanese players faced a similar ban.