Mark Selby came from 5-3 down to beat Stuart Bingham 6-5 and reach the final of the Shanghai Masters.
A clash between the top two ranked players in the world produced a thrilling finish as Selby took the last three frames to earn a final meeting with Stephen Maguire or Ding Junhui.
Leicester’s Selby stepped up his bid to win back-to-back ranking titles having captured the Paul Hunter Classic last month. Victory on Sunday would give him a ninth career ranking crown along with the £85,000 top prize.
Breaks of 76 and 65 helped give Selby a 3-1 lead before Bingham hit back strongly after the interval, firing runs of 67, 123, 72 and 87 as he reeled off four straight frames to lead 5-3.
But World Champion Selby has proved his tenacity on countless occasions and he clawed his way back into the contest by winning a scrappy ninth frame. Runs of 68 and 63 made it 5-5, and he dominated the decider as breaks of 43 and 20 helped him over the winning line.
“I’m delighted to be in the final here again,” said world number one Selby, who is bidding to become the first player to win the Shanghai Masters twice having lifted the trophy in 2011. “It was a very difficult match because Stuart played great. I felt I was in control at 3-1 but then I played one bad safety shot in the fifth frame and he barely missed a ball for the next four.
“I’ll just prepare for tomorrow, come back fresh and give it by best. I love coming to Shanghai and hopefully I can win the title here for a second time.”
Bingham said: “I’m absolutely gutted. I had a couple of chances to win 6-3. It will take a few months to get over this defeat. I felt like the stronger player when I went 5-3 up, then Mark showed grit and determination as he always does. At 5-3 I had a blue into the green pocket and someone in the crowd coughed and I missed it. For the rest of that frame my concentration wasn’t there.”