He needed three sets on both occasions.
Cilic then lost a semi-final in Tokyo, but seems to hit have hit top form again in Shanghai.
BC-TEN-Shanghai Masters, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 599 Nadal, Federer advance to Shanghai final for 38th encounterAP Photo XAW127, XAW128, XAW125, XAW109, XAW110Eds: Adds detail, Federer quotes, restores previous copy.
"But remain work to do". I am still very happy that I came back at a very good level.
"I hope for him (del Potro) that it's nothing serious", Federer said.
Cilic also started out with a bye, but his first couple of matches weren't as straightforward as Nadal's. "I thought we were able to keep up the level from the beginning till the very end.I enjoyed it because it was slices and topspins and angles and power and finesse".
At one point of time, it appeared that the 19-time Grand Slam champion might be denied a meeting with Nadal as he failed to capitalise on four consecutive break points while being down a set and up 3-2 in the second set. "Unfortunately it never happened".
The Croatian fourth seed Cilic - who has defeated Nadal only once in five matches - beat unseeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4.
Varying his serving location and applying his net game helped Nadal snap a three-year hard-court title drought winning his third US Open title.
"When you are playing well, everybody talks about improvements or things that you are doing different", Nadal said.
He needed several minutes of medical attention and sat on a chair at the back of the court, wincing in distress.
And due to weather conditions the roof may be closed - and Rusedski thinks that would benefit Federer against the world No1.
It has been a great year for him but he has not beaten Federer this year. The clothes have been fabulous and get RAVE reviews.
Despite reaching the semi-finals of the China Open recently, Dimitrov misses out on the last four this time around.