Watch highlights as Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev advance to the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing on Friday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. China Open/VCG photo.

Nadal To Meet Dimitrov In Beijing SFs

Dimitrov earns three-set win over Bautista Agut

Rafael Nadal will look to get the better of a player hoping to join him at next month’s Nitto ATP Finals, Grigor Dimitrov, on Saturday in the China Open semi-finals. Nadal leads Dimitrov 8-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

“He is a player that I really like, a good friend on the Tour," said Nadal. "He's a great guy. I think Grigor is a player always with a great attitude, with a positive character. I’m happy for him that he's having a good year. Tomorrow will be a tough one, for sure. He's playing well. He had a good victory today. Let's see. I going to try to play my best. I hope to be ready for it.”

Top seed and 2005 champion Nadal, who is bidding to become year-end No. 1 for the fourth time (also 2008, 2010, 2013), knocked out sixth-seeded American John Isner 6-4, 7-6(0) to improve to a 23-5 mark at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament in China.

Nadal broke Isner’s serve at 5-4 in the first set, then recovered from 15/40 in the second game of the second set before sweeping through the tie-break. The Spanish superstar is now an ATP World Tour-best 59-9 (32-7 on hard courts) in 2017 and continues his quest for a 75th tour-level crown.

“I think I played a solid match,” said Nadal. “I played very well, changing good directions… I think on return I did well. It’s an important victory for me, of course, against a player that arrived here playing so well, winning two great matches. For me it’s an important one and I'm very happy.”

Earlier in the day, Dimitrov further strengthened his bid for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals - to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November - by advancing to the Beijing semi-finals.

Dimitrov improved to 38-15 on the season after he defeated fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2 in the quarter-finals over two hours and 29 minutes.

The victory gives Dimitrov 90 points in Emirates ATP Race To London (now 3,275 points), but the Bulgarian remains in fifth position 440 points behind Austrian Dominic Thiem (3,715).

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