John Higgins set up another showdown with Ronnie O’Sullivan after producing an inspired turnaround against David Gilbert in the Scottish Open quarter-finals on Friday.
The four-time World champion is through to his third semi-final in as many Home Nations events, but was made to work hard for victory at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.
Indeed, Gilbert made a strong start with a break of 77, before doubling his lead on the black in the second frame.
The Championship League winner had lost each of his six previous meetings with Higgins, but pulled further clear with a magnificent 130 total clearance.
Gilbert had been pegged back from 3-0 up by Judd Trump in the fourth round, and it was a case of déjà vu when his opponent drew level with a stunning total clearance of 139.
The Angry Farmer, who surrendered a 13-9 lead in his 17-16 defeat by Higgins in the 2019 World Championship semi-final, had that sinking feeling again as the Wizard completed the turnaround before sealing victory.
Higgins is now set to face O’Sullivan for the third time in the space of a month, having prevailed in their showdowns at the English Open and Champion of Champions.
The Rocket recorded his third successive victory in a deciding frame this week as Li Hang was beaten 5-4 in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.
Despite breaks of 83, 80 and 66, O’Sullivan was pegged back by the world number 51, who had runs of 116, 58 and 53.
But the six-time World champion produced a timely 56 in the decider to make it four wins from four against his Chinese opponent.
Luca Brecel also prevailed in a deciding frame during a real seesaw battle with Matthew Selt.
The UK Championship finalist built on his momentum as he recovered from 4-3 down to set up a last-four clash with Anthony McGill.
The world number 15 held his nerve to defeat Stephen Maguire in a battle of the Glaswegians.
McGill had breaks of 113 and 56 as he surged into a 4-0 lead, but Maguire recovered with a top run of 81 to reduce the deficit to 4-3.
Nevertheless, the two-time ranking event winner maintained his composure with contributions of 52 and 51 securing a seventh victory in eight meetings.
Scottish Open Snooker 2021 Day Five Results
Friday December 10
Stephen Maguire 3-5 Anthony McGill
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-4 Li Hang
Luca Brecel 5-4 Matthew Selt
John Higgins 5-3 David Gilbert