Former world number one and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic will face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in his first match in almost six months at the Mubadala world championships on Friday.
Bautista Agut, the world number 20 from Spain, set up the showdown against Djokovic by seeing off flamboyant young Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday.
Djokovic hasn’t played since retiring from his quarter-final at Wimbledon against Tomas Berdych in July with an elbow injury.
The 30-year-old will make his comeback on Friday before launching his competitive campaign as top seed at the Qatar Open next week.
Bautista Agut, 29, took advantage of the hard-hitting Rublev’s numerous unforced errors to win in 88 minutes.
Rublev was broken twice in each set and even though he saved four match points in the eighth game of the second, his aggression once again cost him as he netted a powerful forehand to end the match.