Rafael Nadal fought past Grigor Dimitrov in a classy quarter-final at the Shanghai Masters on Friday.
The world No 1 persevered 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 to book a semi-final with Marin Cilic, and record a second win over Dimitrov in as many weeks.
Nadal also beat Dimitrov in last week’s China Open semi-final but, this time, was pushed much harder by his opponent.
“Winning a lot of matches in a row, so I’m very happy for everything,” Nadal said. “Of course, being able to win the US Open, Beijing, and being in the semifinals here … I have to try to keep focus and hold that momentum. We’ll see tomorrow if I can have another good day.”
Sixth seed Dimitrov frequently had the final say during pulsating rallies, most impressively during the final set when he kept a point alive before winning it close to the net.
Dimitrov, at 2-2 in the decisive set, had Nadal’s back to the wall and forced the Spaniard to survive a break point.
The 870th career win for Nadal ties him at No 6 in the all-time Open era list behind Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors (1,256 each), Roger Federer (1,121), Ivan Lendl (1,068), Guillermo Vilas (929) and John McEnroe (877).
Meanwhile, Cilic’s 6-3 6-4 quarter-final win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas puts him ahead of Dimitrov at No 5 in the race to the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“My team has worked really well in all parts of my game just to bring it up to the nice level that I can keep it up throughout every single week,” said Wimbledon finalist, Cilic.
“I got to understand also all the things that we were working on. They are quite clear for me and I also am a little bit more consistent this year in serving performances.
“I’m winning quite a lot of service games and a lot of matches.”
We will have all the action from the conclusion of the Shanghai Masters before we head to the Erste Bank Open and Swiss Indoors Basel and then the Paris Masters.
The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and season-ending extravaganza World Tour Finals at London’s O2 in November end another memorable year which will be covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with live blogs and updates as the season reaches its climax.
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(c) Sky News 2017: Rafael Nadal beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach semi-finals of Shanghai Masters