Shanghai Masters: Rafael Nadal beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach semi-finals

Shanghai Masters: Rafael Nadal beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach semi-finals

In the game immediately after that close call, Nadal dampened Dimitrov's spirits further with a break of his own to lead 5-2 and serve out the set, although the latter played fiercely in his attempt to upset the favourite.

World number one Nadal has not been beaten since Nick Kyrgios knocked him out of the Western & Southern Open in August and took just over an hour to dispatch Fognini 6-3 6-1.

Fognini has struggled with Nadal for 63 minutes, 9 minutes more than the duration of the match of the second round of the Spanish language.

Federer delighted his small army of Chinese fans inside the Qi Zhong Centre with an emphatic 6-4 6-2 defeat of tricky Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Nadal had not obtained title in a tournament of the circuit of the ATP on the cement for over three years when he took the honors of worldwide of the United States last month, and now he covets his third trophy in five weeks.

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The 31-year-old secured an immediate break in the second set to leave his Italian opponent with a mountain to climb, and two further breaks followed as Nadal wrapped up the match after one hour and two minutes on court.

While a Nadal-Federer final looms, Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro could ruin the script, as he did at the U.S. Open where he defeated Federer in the quarter-finals when a semi-final between the two greats looked likely.

Top seed Nadal is chasing a tour-leading seventh title this season, and beat Bulgaria's Dimitrov for the second time in a week following his semi-final victory at the China Open. The Argentine will now take on Viktor Troicki, who knocked out 12th seed John Isner.

The Croat, who has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament, served 10 aces as he registered a 6-3 6-4 win.

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