Timeless rival Federer was even faster, dismissing Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2 in 61 minutes.
Nadal took the momentum into the next game to immediately break Dimitrov and finally end the Bulgarian's resolve.
In the third set, Nadal saved the one break point he faced in the match in the fifth game, and broke serve in the sixth to set up victory.
The two friends headed into a deciding set with Dimitrov in the ascendancy and the pro-Nadal crowd fearing an upset.
The Evil Within 2 Pre-Load Is Now Live, Download Size Revealed
According to Bethesda , this will be a story about redemption - Sebastian's chance to win back not only his former life, but his daughter as well.
The Spaniard eased past Fabio Fognini of Italy in the Chinese city, winning 6-3, 6-1 at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena.
Nadal has yet to drop serve in Shanghai.
"I felt good in the first match", the 36-year-old said. "Of course, being able to win the U.S. Open, Beijing, and being in the semifinals here".
The Croat did maintain his own ideal set record on Friday after beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-3, 6-4, and he'll be looking to add another Spanish conquest to his record when he faces Nadal in Shanghai on Saturday.
Natural disaster in North Korea raises suspicions of weapons test
Today (Thursday), a relatively weak 2.9 magnitude quake was recorded near the North Korean town of Sungjibaegam. North Korea's last nuclear test on September 3 caused a 6.3 magnitude quake , according to the USGS.
Rafael Nadal has struggled against Grigor Dimitrov before breaking away for a three-set victory to advance to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters. Mathematically, there are obviously chances that I can be bumped out if I don't win, for example, tomorrow.
Cilic was broken for the first time in his 29th service game of the week at 3-3 in the second set by Ramos-Vinolas.
"I was a little bit angry with myself just with not keeping up the good tennis at that moment", Cilic said.
Crocodile suspected of killing Australian with dementia who wandered from nursing home
Of course as the days progress that option will diminish and as time goes by we will continue to reassess our searching options. A crocodile reportedly tried to drag Peter Rowsell, 19, from a tent by his foot at Palm Creek in the Northern Territory.
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