John Higgins edged out Judd Trump 13-12 in one of the great Crucible matches as he booked his place in the last four of the World Snooker Championship.
Following two absorbing sessions of snooker, the pair were locked at 8-8 when the final session began and Trump looked on course for a semi-final berth when pinching frame 20 to go 11-9 in front, clenching his fist in delight as he departed from the arena for the mid-session interval.
Not for the first time, though, Higgins found his best when it mattered most, drawing on all of his experience to produce some exceptional snooker under pressure, stealing the first frame after the mid-session interval when pouncing on a Trump miss on 42 with a run of 75 of his own.
A break of 72 followed in the next, a series of remarkable pots seeing the four-time world champion over the line in a break in which he was constantly fighting the cue ball.
Higgins would lead only a few minutes later, a magnificent total clearance of 134 leaving Trump sitting uncomfortably in his seat as the 42-year-old strode out of the arena to a rapacious applause.
Victory seemed to assured for Higgins in the following frame when he potted a wonderful blue into the middle pocket only to find himself snookered on a red over the opposite middle bag.
Higgins steeled himself for a desperately tough long red close to the side cushion but a rattle of the jaws let Trump back in and in the toughest of circumstances, the left-hander held his nerve to produce superb clearance.
Trump couldn’t make use of that lifeline, however.
Higgins soon opened up a 43 point lead in the deciding frame and with the reds unfavourably placed for a counter, the master tactician was always able to dictate matters thereafter as he sealed his spot in yet another Crucible semi-final.
Both players left the Crucible theatre as they had arrived three hours earlier, the crowd standing to applaud as an electric atmosphere took hold of the famous threatre.
Having edged the first session on Tuesday afternoon 5-3, Trump seemingly took control of the match when taking a 6-3 lead thanks to a fine break of 89.
Trump inflicted a further body blow on Higgins in the next frame, clearing up with a run of 64 to force a respotted black which he duly won after the Scot missed from mid-range.
Like the great champion he is, Higgins responded with breaks of 65, 61, 53, 56 and 51 to surge into an 8-7 lead.
Trump ensured honours were even heading in the concluding session, however, holding his nerve to take frame 16, though nobody could have predicted the drama that was to come.
Higgins told worldsnooker.com: “I don’t know what it is with me and Judd, we keep on producing classic matches.
“It’s tough, I saw his Mum and Dad sitting up there watching.
“The he was clearing up all the time to nick frames told me he was ready to win it.
"I just hung in there.
“There was a massive turning point at 7-4 when he missed a pink into the middle and I managed to keep in touching distance at 7-5.
“Nowadays you saviour this and these matches, the heat of the battle and this venue.
“There’s no venue like it.
“I can’t wait to walk out there for the one table set up.
“You never know if you’ll get back there again and I’m buzzing for it.”
Higgins will play Kyren Wilson in the last four after he beat Mark Allen 13-6.