Roberto Bautista Agut is looking forward to taking on Novak Djokovic upon the Serb’s return to action after a lengthy absence through injury in Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard booked his spot in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship – an exhibition event in the United Arab Emirates – with a 7-5 6-2 win over young Russian Andrey Rublev where he will face the 12-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic was handed a bye to the last-four and will take on the world No. 20 on Friday.
The 30-year-old has not played a match since Wimbledon where he was forced to retire against Tomas Berdych with an elbow injury, which kept him on the sidelines for the following six months.
And Bautista Agut is looking forward to welcoming him back to match-play when the pair collide.
‘It’s going to be great to have Novak on court again, for everybody, for all of us,’ he said after his victory against Rublev.
‘I’m happy to play against him again. I played some tough matches against him and I always enjoy playing against Novak.
‘I played great. I think it was a good first match of the season. I felt great on the court, the surface feels great for my game. It was a good start for me.’
Djokovic has won six of their seven previous meetings – although this encounter won’t be classed as an official contest on the ATP Tour.
In their only clash in 2017, it was Djokovic who emerged victorious on his way to the final in Rome – winning 6-4 6-4 on that occasion.
However, in their last meeting on an outdoor hard court Bautista Agut pulled off his first win over the 12-time Grand Slam champion in Shanghai.
Both players will feature on the final day regardless of the result, with the winner taking on either Dominic Thiem or Kevin Anderson in the final, while the loser will compete in the third-place play-off.
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