Mark Allen produced a brilliant fight-back from 5-2 down to beat Mark Selby 6-5 and reach the final of the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters.
World Champion and world number one Selby looked set for the final at three up with four to play, but his opponent hit back superbly to set up a best-of-19 final against Ding Junhui or Stuart Bingham on Sunday.
Northern Ireland’s Allen is chasing his second title within a month having won the Paul Hunter Classic European Tour event in August, and the third world ranking title of his career. The previous two have come in China – both at the Haikou World Open.
Selby made a fast start with breaks of 70 and 116 to win the first two frames and soon extended his lead to 4-1. Allen pulled one back with a run of 68 before Selby’s 71 put him 5-2 ahead.
But Allen got the better of a close eighth frame then fired in breaks of 115 and 64 for 5-5.
Selby had first chance in the decider and made 63 before running out of position when he clipped a cluster of reds. Allen countered with 40 then Selby potted the last red but missed a tricky pink to a centre pocket. Allen took advantage by clearing the colours to snatch victory.
“It’s good to get one over on Selby as he does it to so many players,” said Allen. “I started poorly so I had to dig deep and I played much better after the interval. In the last frame he looked as if he was going to close out the match in one visit so I’m very happy to pinch it on the last black.
“The last four frames was the best I’ve played so far in this tournament, but I can play better and hopefully I’ll do that tomorrow. If I play Ding it will be a great atmosphere. In a big final you want it noisy.”
Selby said: “Mark didn’t let his head go down at 5-2 and played some good snooker. I had two good chances in the last frame. Up to 4-1 I played as well as I have done this week. I felt as if I was in control, but then missed chances and Mark capitalised. He showed great character and I wish him the best in the final. One ball can turn the match around. I’ve done that to opponents before so I know how it feels.”