Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-2 down to beat John Higgins 5-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Masters.
O’Sullivan will now meet Judd Trump in another showpiece clash at the eight-man invitation tournament.
Higgins came from 2-0 down to lead 4-2, firing breaks of 87, 72, 61 and 81. But a packed crowd was treated to an exciting conclusion as the two players with nine world titles between them battled to the end.
O’Sullivan made a 65 in winning the seventh frame then came from 20-0 down to take the eighth with a top run of 42. Higgins had two clear chances in the decider but could only make 16 and 24, and O’Sullivan eventually took it 80-40.
“i felt I got away with that one, I was 4-2 down and John was playing solid,” said O’Sullivan. “I won a good frame to go 4-3 and that put the match in the balance. You should never give in until it’s over. For my first match since the World Championship I felt pretty good. I enjoyed the occasion, it was a great crowd and you have to look forward to playing in an atmosphere like that.”
Higgins’ sons Pierce and Oliver were among the crowd
Higgins said: “I had a few chances and didn’t take them and that came back to bite me. We missed a few easy balls between us tonight. All the players are a bit rusty and my technique was all over the place in some frames. but the atmosphere was incredible. The hospitality here in Hong Kong has been fantastic, I can’t thank the people here enough and I would love to come back here for more tournaments.”