Ali Carter defeated Shaun Murphy 6-3 at Alexandra Palace to make his first ever Dafabet Masters final.
This will be the third time that the Captain has graced a Triple Crown final, having been runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the World Championship on two occasions in 2008 and 2012.
Carter’s run to this year’s final has seen him take down three former World Champions and Masters winners, having beaten Mark Selby, John Higgins and now Murphy. World number 17 Carter’s exploits this week have been all the more remarkable given he was a late entrant to the event after world number three O’Sullivan pulled out.
With David Gilbert and Stuart Bingham contesting this evening’s second semi-final we are now guaranteed a new name on the Paul Hunter Trophy. Carter will face the winner tomorrow over the best of 19 frames for the £250,000 top prize.
Triple Crown winner Murphy will have to wait to end a five year run without claiming one of snooker’s big three titles. However, he leaves Alexandra Palace with £60,000 for reaching the last four.
Breaks of 55 and 91 saw Carter move into a 2-0 lead in the early stages this afternoon. Murphy hit back with a superb contribution of 105, but Carter claimed the fourth to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.
When they returned Murphy compiled his second century of the evening, a break of 110, to pull within a frame at 3-2. Carter came from behind to compose a run of 70 to steal the sixth frame, before a dramatic seventh.
Essex cueman Carter missed a straightforward brown to move a frame from victory and Murphy capitalised to make it 4-3.
An outrageous fluke when escaping a snooker on the final red allowed Carter to move 5-3 ahead and he completed the win with a steely break of 97.
“It’s a massive event. It is a great event. To beat three players like I have, means I deserve to be in the final. Hopefully I go out there and produce the goods tomorrow,” said four-time ranking event winner Carter. “I was presented with an opportunity and I’ve taken it. That is all you can ask for. It is in my hands and I couldn’t believe it when Ronnie withdrew. You never know what he is going to do.
“It is a massive match for me tomorrow. The experience that has gone before in my career can only help. I am working on new things. I am feeling strong and feeling positive. I am just trying to do the right things out there and not get frustrated or let my frustrations get the better of me.
“It is one more match at the end of the day. I will turn up, chalk my cue and get stuck in.”
Murphy said: “I think that is just the game. I thought I played quite well. I enjoyed the match and thought we had some good battles. There was some good potting and break building.
“Very well done in terms of standing up to take his chance at the end. It is not easy out there and not as easy as people make it look from time to time. To get to his first final here in front of a packed house and on an invite. Someone shouted ‘finish him’ like from Karate Kid at the end and he did.”