Rafael Nadal, 31, has made it into another final in 2017, his eighth overall this season. The current world No. 1 is also seeking his second title on hard court this year after winning the 2017 Us Open Tennis Championships to Kevin Anderson. Getting past Grigor Dimitrov in the semis in Beijing is just another crucial step in his bid to end the year as the world No. 1. Moreover, defeating the Bulgarian tennis star capped Nadal's 60th win of the year, a surreal achievement for sure. He will face either Nick Kyrgios or Alexander Zverev for a second Beijing title and the first one since 2005.

An early start of the autumn swing on the hard court seems to give Nadal the right swing of momentum for the heat to come in Shanghai, Paris or the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

Grigor Dimitrov was trying to replicate the 2016 success over Nadal

A year ago, Nadal was making his penultimate appearance of the year in Beijing. An in-form Grigor Dimitrov went on battling past Nadal in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 event. That was the only time the Bulgarian prevailed over the Spaniard. Nadal took his revenge several months after that episode in the semis of the 2017 Australian Open. With today's win, he is now 9-1 in head to head over Dimitrov.

The opening set saw Nadal taking an early lead by breaking first on his opponent's serve.

At 4-2 he saved two consecutive break points in what was the last frontier of the inaugural set. The Bulgarian didn't conceive the fight as he went on pushing harder. Despite an early break, Nadal was unable to seal the deal as Dimitrov raced from behind to claim the set by 6-4. The decisive act saw an increased level of sharpness from Nadal's racket doing some extended damages on Dimitrov's side.

Things went off the rail pretty fast as Nadal took the upper hand. He sealed the deal winning the set by 6-1.

Rafael Nadal getting ready for the battles to come, Federer to resume playing

Next week, the action will kick off at Rolex Masters in Shanghai. Roger Federer is also expected to make his first official appearance since losing in the quarterfinals of the 2017 US Open, and the Swiss will try to close the gap on Nadal.

If Nadal wins in Beijing, it'll put a heavier burden on Federer's shoulders. The existing gap is a huge one, and the Swiss must make no wrong steps in the weeks to come if he wants to have a real chance to outlast his rival.

Roger Federer, 36, is probably looking at one of his last chances, if not the last, to reach the ATP summit. The first few months of the next year will force him to defend those surreal results from Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami.