(Reuters) - World number one Rafa Nadal beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in the China Open semi-finals on Saturday to reach his ninth final of the year.
The top-seeded Spaniard took control from the start, winning 13 consecutive points on his own serve and breaking Dimitrov to seal the first set in 35 minutes.
Nadal led the second 3-1 but world number eight Dimitrov fought back to level at 4-4 before clinching the set.
Bulgarian Dimitrov's eye-catching shots were not enough to overcome the 31-year-old, however, and Nadal broke serve three times in the deciding set.
The 16-times grand slam winner is on course to win his 75th singles title and will face Australian Nick Kyrgios or German Alexander Zverev in the final on Sunday.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)