The world number one was a 6-3 4-6 6-1 victor as he booked his place in a 110th career final.
The 16-times grand slam victor will take on Australian Nick Kyrgios in Sunday's final as the eighth seed progressed to his first final of the season after beating German second seed Alexander Zverev 6-3 7-5 in the last four.
Nadal will look to get the better of the player hoping to join him at next month's ATP Finals on Saturday in the China Open semi-finals.
An omnious warning of intent was sent by Rafael Nadal (31), as the 16-time Grand Slam victor and the Spanish world number one, bulldozed his way into the quarter-finals of the China Open on Thursday. "I think I did the things that I want to do, and I did it well, so very happy".
Asked by AFP what those were, she smiled: "I tell you one, only one: to win a Grand Slam, which you know". He then exacted revenge for his Laver Cup loss with an impressive straight-sets win over the big-serving John Isner, prevailing in the tight affair which saw him fend off all three break points he faced in the encounter. He's playing well. He had a good victory today.
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Nadal leads Dimitrov 8-1 in their head-to-head matches.
"It was not important, but I am still feeling it a little bit".
"And I have a few more dreams in my career". "I changed the tactic and worked pretty well". "I think Grigor is a player always with a great attitude, with a positive character".
In contrast, Zverev smashed his racquet on the floor, earning a warning from the umpire, when Kyrgios grabbed the decisive break in the second set.
Nadal hit a delicate backhand lob over the American, with the ball satisfyingly dropping just inside the baseline.