John Higgins admitted he was “all over the place” after defeating Jack Lisowski 13-12 in a Crucible Quarter-Final classic on Wednesday.
The four-time World Champion recovered from the brink of defeat to prevail in a deciding frame and set up a mouth-watering Semi-Final showdown with ‘Class of 92’ rival Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Leading 5-3 from their opening session on Tuesday, Higgins began the second with a brilliant break of 123, but was unable to pull clear of a stubborn Lisowski, who was appearing in his maiden World Championship Quarter-Final.
Indeed, Jackpot gained confidence as errors began to creep into his opponent’s game and reeled off three frames in a row from 11-9 down; clearing from green to pink to snatch the 23rd on the colours for 12-11.
But Higgins responded magnificently with a timely 105 to force a decider and after Lisowski broke down on 18, a break of 72 was enough to secure his 11th semi-final appearance in snooker’s blue-riband event.
“I’m delighted. I really don’t know where those two frames came from at the end,” said the relieved Scotsman.
“I was all over the place really. The conditions were tough; I just couldn’t control the white at all.
“Through the whole day, I was trying to protect a lead, which you cannot do in this sport. You’ve just got to try and get over the winning line.
“I had chances to pull away, but was playing too many loose shots.
“When it was 12-11, I was thinking to myself: ‘The semi-final deserves Jack and Ronnie playing a good brand of snooker; you don’t want an old duffer like me to play!’
“He was winning all the tactical exchanges. He looked stronger than me and if he’d got through, I’d have shaken his hand.”