John Higgins won a marathon five-hour battle against Yan Bingtao by a 6-5 scoreline to reach the final of the Cazoo Champion of Champions in Bolton.
Higgins and Trump have contested two Crucible finals
Higgins got over the winning line with a superb break in the deciding frame at 12.15am to earn a meeting with Judd Trump in Sunday’s final, with first to ten frames to take home the trophy and £150,000 top prize. Higgins will be aiming to win the title for the second time and first since 2016.
It’s a third final within the space of five weeks for the Scot and he’ll hope to make it third time lucky, having lost 9-8 to Mark Allen at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open and by the same scoreline against Neil Robertson at the BetVictor English Open.
China’s Yan led 3-1 at the interval with top breaks of 54 and 74 then Wishaw’s Higgins hit back to take three frames in a row with top runs of 89 and 70. Yan’s break of 70 made it 4-4 then the next two were shared to leave the score at 5-5.
Early in the decider, Higgins thumped in a long red, and that set up a match-winning break of 89. He was out of position on 68 but played a clever double on the sixth-last red to a centre pocket which made victory inevitable.
“It feels amazing. They’re special moments in your career against a great champion in Yan. I managed to dig in and work my way back in. Two nervy shots but I managed to hold myself together. I ran out of position and thought I may not get another chance if I play safe, so I went for the double and managed to get it,” said Higgins.
“The atmosphere was incredible; I cannot wait for the final now. I am sure it will be even better. I will just go and enjoy it. I will have to play at the top of my game to have a chance of beating Judd. He’s a fantastic player now. A great all-around champion. He’s become a winning machine over the last two or three years. I will have to be playing my best and hope it’s good enough.”
The final starts at 1pm.