Nadal sets up Dimitrov semi-final in China

Rafael Nadal continued on his march at the China Open, defeating John Isner in straight sets in his quarter-final match on Friday.

The world number one needed a touch under two hours to defeat the big serving Isner 6-4, 7-6(0) on the hard courts of Beijing. 

As expected, Isner was superb on serve, firing no less than 22 aces. But Nadal was better in the big moments, saving all three break points he faced. 

The opening set was a tense affair, with Nadal having to wait until the ninth game to get his opportunity. Up 0-40, the Spaniard would convert his third breakpoint to go 5-4 up, after which her served out the set.

After Nadal saved a couple breakpoints in his opening service game, the second set went to a tiebreaker, which he dominated to win the match.

Waiting for Nadal in the final four is Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian survived a second set comeback from Roberto Bautista-Agut to win 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2 two and half hours earlier in the day. 

Nadal will be eager to exact revenge on Dimitrov, who knocked him out at the quarter-final stage of the event in 2016 for his only win over Nadal.