Novak Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Masters Series in Turin on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Andrey Rublev, his second straight sets victory in as many matches.
Having beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first Red Group match on Monday, the Serb is guaranteed a spot in the last four regardless of his result on Friday against Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev faces Tsitsipas later on Wednesday with both looking for their first win of the tournament.
Djokovic is ranked just eighth in the world in part because he missed two Majors over his vaccination status, starting the year by being deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open.
On Wednesday, he shattered Rublev’s resistance in just a few games after taking the only break point either player had in the first set at 4-4.
He served out the set and then exploited Rublev’s frustration to break again early in the second as he went 3-0 ahead.
At 35, he will play his 11th semi-final in 15 appearances at the tournament which features the top eight ranked players (who are injury-free and available).
He is tied on five titles in the event with Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. Only the recently retired Roger Federer, on six, has won more.
World number one Carlos Alcaraz was unable to play due to an abdominal injury.
Djokovic confirmed Wednesday he has received a visa to travel to Melbourne to play in the 2023 Australian Open, after he was deported last January over his vaccine status.
“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief,” the Serbian said after beating Rublev.
On Tuesday Australian media reported that the government had decided to grant the unvaccinated Serbian a visa, overturning a three-year ban after his ejection from the country.
This year’s championship was overshadowed by nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic being put on a plane on the eve of the contest after a high-stakes legal battle over his visa status.
Australia has lifted the requirement for visitors to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination, and the three-year ban can be overturned at the discretion of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s centre-left government, which is different to the conservative coalition in power when he was kicked out.
Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7 (11/13), 7-6 (7/1) in the late match, eliminating the Russian.
The Greek player who was champion in 2019 will now play for a place in the semi finals on Friday against Andrey Rublev.
Medvedev served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but blew his chance and then wilted to 7-1 in the eventual tie break.