Top seed Rafael Nadal takes on third seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final of China Open 2017, a Masters 500 tournament in Beijing, on Saturday, October 7.
Nadal, the world number one, headed into the last-four round after making light work of big-serving American, John Isner, in straight sets (6-5, 7-6 (0)) in the quarter-final on Friday.
The Spaniard has been in fine form in the ongoing tournament. He was made to work hard by Lucas Pouille in the first round, but Nadal buckled up and decimated Karen Khachanov in the Round 16 to send a strong message to the rest of the pack in Beijing.
Nadal 8-1 vs Dimitrov
Having beaten Dimitrov eight times in their last nine meetings, Nadal will start the semi-final on Saturday as the overwhelming favourite.
Nadal's recent win against Dimitrov came during his run to the final of Australian Open earlier this year. The 31-year-old was stretched to the limits by the Bulgarian, who went down in five sets.
The 2005 champion though maintains Dimitrov is a tough nut to crack, given the latter's recent form. Notably, the 26-year-old has won three titles in 2017, two less than leaders Roger Federer, Nadal and Alexander Zverev.
"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," Nadal said after his quarter-final encounter on Friday.
On the other hand, Dimitrov will take confidence from his win (6-2, 6-4) over Nadal at last year's quarter-final in Beijing.
The Bulgarian has been made to work hard in the ongoing tournament, but the hard-earned wins against Juan Martin del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut would have helped him get ready for a possible draining encounter against Nadal.
Dimitrov, with his powerful groundstrokes, will look to put pressure on Nadal by attacking him early. However, he needs to be wary of the Spaniard's solid defence if he is to stand a chance of putting one past the numero uno.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The semi-final between Nadal and Dimitrov will not start before 4:30pm local time, 2pm IST, 9:30am GMT.
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