Federer subsequently eased past Richard Gasquet in straight sets to book a last-four clash, but it remains to be seen whether Del Potro will be fit to face the Swiss on Saturday.
The Spaniard got the mini-break for a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak, but sixth seed Dimitrov scrapped back to level, and then stunned Nadal to clinch the tiebreak. "If not, I will be nearly dead because he is going to go for the shots".
"It's better like this than having long matches, you save, a little bit more, the body", Nadal said. "I would like to play and be 100 per cent".
The Argentine recovered from a slow start to triumph 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Nonetheless, his superb serving eventually got him through the mentally-draining service game, successfully claiming the first set 6-3 after just 35 minutes of play. "Of course, being able to win the U.S. Open, Beijing, and being in the semifinals here ..."
Fourth-seeded Cilic stands between Nadal and a second ATP final in two weeks.
"I think (it was) a great battle between two players who are playing all the time very focused, very intense points".
"I felt good in the first match", the 36-year-old said.
The 2014 US Open champion knocked out Spain's unseeded hopeful Albert Ramos, 6-3, 6-4.
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