Ferrer, seeded No. 1 and ranked fourth in the world, coasted past Paolo Lorenzi in their quarterfinal encounter 6-3, 6-1. Ferrer eased past Nadal in the world rankings last year while Nadal was recovering from a knee injury that put him on the sidelines for six months.
Nadal, No. 5 in the world and seeded second this week, was a 6-1, 7-5 winner over Leonardo Mayer in Thursday's closing match.
Ferrer already has two titles this year and Nadal has one.
Fabio Fognini earned a semifinal meeting with Ferrer by taking out Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 6-4. Ferrer is 4-0 in his career against Fognini and defeated him earlier this year in Buenos Aires.
Nadal's semifinal opponent will be Nicolas Almagro, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Horacio Zeballos.
Almagro and Nadal have met eight times and Nadal has won them all. Their last matchup came in the 2012 French Open quarterfinals.