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Serbia Open: Andrey Rublev beats Taro Daniel to enter semifinals

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Belgrade, April 22 (IANS) Second seed Andrey Rublev produced a stunning display of forehand hitting to overwhelm Taro Daniel in the quarter-finals and reach the semi-finals of the Serbia Open, here on Friday.

World No 8 Rublev registered a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniel in a 74-minute long quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event, setting a last-four meeting with Fabio Fognini.

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“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 couldn’t take that many risks because of the wind,” said Rublev after the match.

“But then with time, I started to adapt, to take the moments when there was not much wind and I started to try to play more aggressively. In the end it worked,” he added.

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With the win, Rublev moves to a 21-5 record for the 2022 season. Only Monte-Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas has won more matches this year. Despite that strong record, he is taking nothing for granted ahead of his meeting with sixth seed Fognini on Saturday.

“It’s going to be tough. Fabi, he’s super talented, he can play amazing and it’s going to be a tough match with a lot of long rallies, so I just need to do my best and we will see what happens,” said Rublev of the Fognini clash.

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Fognini moved past Germany’s Oscar Otte with a 7-5, 6-4 win earlier on Friday. He will hope to find his best level when he takes on Rublev in his second semi-final of the season.

Eight of the Italian’s nine ATP Tour titles have come on clay, the biggest of which was his 2019 triumph at the Monte-Carlo Masters. He holds a 5-4 ATP Head2Head series lead over Rublev, but the second seed has won the pair’s past three encounters.

In the other of Saturday’s semi-finals in Belgrade, World No 1 Novak Djokovic will aim to keep his bid for a third title at the ATP 250 event alive when he takes on third seed Karen Khachanov.

–IANS

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