John Higgins is through to the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championships after an winning a final frame decider to sink England’s Jack Liswoski 13-12 at the Crucible.
The Wizard of Wishaw trailed 12-11 before knocking in an outstanding century and break of 105 to force the decider.
It looked like the match might escape Higgins when his opening shot of the frame allowed Lisowski in, but he missed a red on a break of 18 and Higgins made no mistake to rack up a break of 72 and claim victory late on Wednesday night.
Old foe Ronnie O’Sullivan now awaits in Thursday night’s opening session of the last four tie. Both players are in their 30th season in the sport and the Englishman holds a slender advantage in the head-to-head stats, with The Rocket winning 38 times to Higgins’ 35 victories.
Higgins told sponsors Betfred: “I don’t know how I’ve won that, really. 12-11 behind. I had my chances all day to really get a lead on Jack, but I never took them and he was getting stronger.
“I was saying ‘put me out of my misery.’ When it went 12-11 I thought ‘Ach, I’ve thrown it away again’.
“But I made it 12-all and then I butchered the safety [in the final frame] and I was thinking he deserves to go and clean up.
“He was looking good, under control, but then he’s missed the red and I managed to get in and do a break.
“This season has been tough and I’ve had a few bad losses, but this makes it all worthwhile getting here and to play Ronnie as well.”
Higgins is aiming for his fifth world title, 11 years on from his last success at the Crucible in 2011, and on the three previous occasions he has beaten The Rocket at the World Championships, he has gone on to take the crown.
The 46-year-old has been in strong form this season, but has lost his last five finals – many in heartbreaking fashion, including the 9-10 Tour Championship defeat to Neil Robertson at teh start of the month when he led 9-4.
The semi-finals are dominated by the ‘Class of ’92’ with the legendary pair also joined by three-time world champion Mark Williams, who plays former world No.1 and 2019 winner Judd Trump in the other clash.
It’s the first time since 1999 that the trio have reached this stage of the competition.
O’Sullivan can equal Stephen Hendry’s Crucible record of seven world titles if he goes on to win the event. In reaching the last four for the 13th time in his career, he broke Hendry’s record for semi-final appearances,