Rafa Nadal will take on world number one Novak Djokovic in the China Open final after the multiple grand slam champions bludgeoned their way to straight-sets wins.
Nadal extracted a modicum of revenge on new Italian foe Fabio Fognini with a 7-5 6-3 semi-final win before Djokovic extended his unbeaten winning run in the Chinese capital to 28 matches with a 6-2 6-3 win over David Ferrer of Spain.
Sunday's battle will be the 45th meeting of a high-class, long-term rivalry between the two and although Nadal leads 23-21, the Serb has won six of the last seven.
Djokovic had been dominant for most of the season, winning three grand slam titles and dropping only 14 games in four matches in China.
Nadal is fully aware of the gargantuan task awaiting him.
"Tomorrow is a match I know is going to be very, very difficult. But I am here to try my best," Nadal, whose last hardcourt title came 21 months ago in Qatar, told reporters.
"My goal is try to play the way that I want to play. I know this year Novak, as I say before, is a different league of my one. But still happy with the final. I'm going to fight tomorrow and we'll see."
The Italian became the first man to beat Nadal from two sets down at a grand slam when he took out the Spaniard in the third round of the US Open last month, his third win over the 14-times grand slam champion this year.
In the women's draw, Gabriele Muguruza overcame Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 4-6 6-3 6-4 to make her second straight final in China after last week's efforts in Wuhan.
The Spaniard, seeking her first title this season and second of her career, will play Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, who kept alive her qualifying bid for the WTA Finals in Singapore with a 5-7 6-4 6-1 win over Ana Ivanovic.
The loss ended the Serb's hopes of making the eight-woman end-of-season event.
|Ivanovic will not be featuring in the WTA Finals next month [Reuters]