Judd Trump underlined why he's snooker's top dog with a battling 6-4 victory over Mark Allen in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions.
Despite being on the receiving end of a brilliant Allen barrage during the middle portion of the match, his 3-0 lead wiped out and replaced by a 4-3 deficit, Trump fought his way back to parity and then took advantage of a timely fluke to move into Sunday's final.
Forced by Allen's safety work to take on a long red, Trump missed only for the ball to career across the table and into the opposite pocket. It was luck, no more and no less, though there was nothing fortunate about the 98 break which followed to close out the match.
After edging a tight, scrappy opening frame, Trump raced into a 3-0 lead and appeared set to book his meeting with Neil Robertson quickly.
But the world champion then had to sit and watch as Allen scored 393 unanswered points in a four-frame stretch of quality, breaks of 56, 140, a ridiculous 106 and then 69 turning the match on its head.
Trump needed a spark, and it came courtesy of his first slice of luck, as Allen suffered a shocking kick when among the balls. In typically merciless fashion, Trump marched to the table and blasted a brilliant 82 to set up a mouthwatering climax at 4-4.
A tense frame nine again looked set to go Allen's way and it likely would have, but for an outrageous fluke as Trump missed from range only for the red to fly into the opposite corner pocket and leave him with a relatively simple task.
Allen must have been pondering the significance of those two shots - the kick in frame eight and the fluke in frame nine - as he sat back and watched Trump return to his fluent best and wrap up a 6-4 win.
"It was a game that turned on luck," confessed Trump. "In the end, he had a kick, I had a fluke at a crucial time - there was a lot of luck for both of us at points.
"I thought it was pretty much all over, the way he was playing. Crucially, I got the run of it at the right time."
Allen, who heads home to Northern Ireland next week for the latest Home Nations Series event, was magnanimous as he wished both finalists luck, but visibly frustrated nonetheless that he'd lacked it.
"I felt in complete control," said Allen. "Disappointing the way that I lost. I played some good snooker. I scored over 300 points without reply at one point.
"He's on the crest of a wave at the minute. Hopefully my turn will come, my game's been in good shape for a while."
The snooker circus heads to Belfast next for the Northern Ireland Open and Richard Mann has four selections worth backing - check out his preview by clicking the image below...