Higgins edges out Carter
John Higgins held off a comeback from Ali Carter to reach the semi-finals of the Bank of Communication Shanghai Masters.
The Scot, seeking a first tournament win in China since 1999 and playing his first ranking event of the season, looked poised to wrap up a convincing success when he established a 4-1 lead.
However, World Championship finalist Carter made Higgins pay for missing the final red in the sixth frame, compiling a 32 break to overturn a 19-point deficit and seal a 73-60 success which kept his hopes alive.
The 33-year-old Essex potter, who is fighting an ongoing battle with Crohn's disease, built a 47-point lead in the seventh frame and wrapped it up with a knock of 35 to move to within a frame of his opponent at 4-3.
However, Higgins kept his composure to complete a 5-3 success - having started the contest with a break of 103 in the opening frame.
Former world champion Mark Williams joined Higgins in the semis, beating Joe Perry 5-4 in a match where there was never more than a single frame between the players.
The left-hander from Cwm was taken to a decider after a 131 clearance by Perry squared the contest in the eighth frame.
However, Williams - beaten by Mark Selby in the final of this tournament last season having held a 9-7 lead - held his nerve in the ninth frame with a match-winning break of 75, after Perry had earlier sportingly called a foul on himself after feathering the white.
Judd Trump was another player who held off a comeback, defeating Graeme Dott 5-4 to set up a clash against Williams.
Trump led 4-1 but was pegged back as Scotland's 2006 world champion reeled off three frames in a row, levelling the match with a clearance of 108.
However, Trump produced a century break of his own in the deciding frame to make sure of his continued progress in the competition.
Shaun Murphy will play Higgins for a place in the final after the 2005 world champion saw off Stuart Bingham 5-1.
Murphy won the first three frames before a break of 72 gave him a commanding 4-0 lead at the interval.
He had chances to whitewash his opponent after the resumption but Bingham dug in and ground out a 66-31 success.
However, a knock of 84 in the sixth frame carried Murphy over the line with time to spare.
Trump was relieved to come through the decider against Dott, saying: "I was very nervous and I would have been disappointed to throw the match away."
Now he accepts the pressure is ramped up, with the experienced Williams an imposing figure between Trump and Sunday's final.
"I'm though to the one-table set-up here for the first time which is exciting," Trump said on worldsnooker.com.
"I haven't played Mark Williams for a few years and we've never met on the big stage before.
"We will both play our natural games and go for our shots. It will be tough but I fancy my chances."
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