Victor edges Halep closer to taking the world number one ranking held by Spain's Garbiñe Muguruza, who bowed out of the tournament in the first round with a virus.
But Kyrgios showed his best side for a Beijing crowd that lapped up his fearsome shot-making and showmanship.
The tearful Romanian said she had fulfilled a dream courtesy of her defeat of Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 and will play France's on-form Caroline Garcia in Sunday's China Open final. So I'm very happy.
"He is one of the best competitors, I like to be around him".
The unpredictable 22-year-old goes into the match against Nadal as one of the few men to beat the world number one in 2017, having knocked him out of the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.
"I do not do not forget to have committed a lot of mistakes", explained Nadal.
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The Spaniard also has 8 victories in 9 games against Dimitrov, as the only victory of the Bulgarian was exactly in Beijing in the quarterfinals last season with 6: 2, 6: 4.
Nadal hit a delicate backhand lob over the American, with the ball satisfyingly dropping just inside the baseline.
Dimitrov hit a backhand crosscourt victor to take the second set on Nadal's serve in the 10th game.
Elsewhere, Adrian Mannarino reeled off seven games in a row to oust top seed and previous favourite Marin Cilic in the Japan Open semi-final.
The top-seeded Spaniard earned his 60th victory of the season as he defeated the third-seeded Bulgarian in two hours, 16 minutes to book his spot in his ninth final of the year, the 110th final of his career and fourth at the China Open.
Krygios was leading Belgium's Steve Darcis 6-0, 3-0 when his opponent retired injured.