The 22-year-old stunned the German starlet 6-3, 7-5 in a high-quality semi-final on Beijing's outside hard courts.
Kyrgios appeared unable to get over an incorrect line call in the first game as he indulged in one of his infamous running debates with the umpire.
And when he went down 30-0 on Nadal's serve at 2-2, the Australian began the first in a series of lengthy discussions with the umpire - frequently spreading his arms in despair, shaking his head and swearing at least once.
The 31-year-old nearly shut out Kyrgios in the second set and took a 5-0 lead before the Australian won his solitary game to slightly delay the inevitable as Nadal sauntered to his 12th consecutive win.
Kyrgios offered Nadal eight break points in the first set with Nadal taking two service breaks.
Petchey said: "Rafael Nadal, to be fair, has handled what's going on pretty well but there was a strong look up to Mohamed Lehyani at the end of the last game".More news: Google Home Mini is donut-sized harbinger for Google Assistant upgrades
"I mean, I obviously didn't react professionally".
Unseeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia won the biggest singles title of her career with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over soon-to-be world number one Simona Halep in the China Open final in Beijing on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Frenchman Lucas Pouille also progressed as he ousted Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-2.
"If my vision is realised, it's my hope that I'll be remembered for this more than anything I have done or will do on the tennis court", he added.
Nadal will face a familiar figure in Dimitrov - the pair practiced together at Nadal's base in Mallorca before the U.S. Open, where the Spaniard won the title for a third time this year.
"It's a really special trophy for me, as I won the tournament last week and now have again today", Goffin said. A great classic for Kyrgios, what... Who cares? Like, why are we focusing on that?
After speaking with his family they are now looking for locations and business partners to help make the dream a reality.