Mark Selby won a Crucible classic against Ding Junhui, whilst John Higgins had 24 hours of his own to remember after a quite remarkable set of World Championship semi-finals.
Emotional Selby shows relief after compelling contest
World number one Selby eventually saw off Ding after a spirited effort from the Chinese number one in a repeat of last year's final. Locked at 12-12 overnight, Selby came out flying with breaks of 74 and 65 to secure the first two frames. Ding hit back with a break of 52, only for Selby to secure an advantage at the mid-session interval with a tight tactical contest.
Ding has shown a quite remarkable frame of mind over the past fortnight and he failed to give in despite Selby moving one frame away straight after the break. The Far East star was left requiring five straight frames to progress and he won the first two as he made a break of 73. Yet Selby eventually secured his passage into a fourth World Championship final as he let out a roar of relief on his way to a winning break of 72.
Higgins progresses on two hours sleep
Preceding Britain's biggest boxing night in history, that match was certainly the main event in Sheffield as John Higgins and Barry Hawkins stumbled their way through on the undercard. A game that saw excellent pots begin breaks only for a never ending list of easy misses to halt the tempo of the contest.
It was a match that required experience to see you through and 41-year old Higgins certainly delved into his bucket that has helped him to four World crowns. The Scotsman dug deep to win six of the eight frames in session three, before securing his place in the final during a solitary fourth session frame. Yet that was just half the story.
Higgins, clearly concerned after playing 16 frames without making a century in the first two sessions, drove home to get a new tip in the late hours. He returned at 4am to get two hours sleep before returning to the table. Despite winning seven of nine frames with his new tip, Higgins progressed through the semi-final without a three-figure break and knows he will have to improve when he faces Selby for the 14th time.
Higgins leads 7-6 on the head-to-head, though Selby has won two of their three meetings this season. They have met three times at the Crucible, all between 2006 and 2009, with Higgins winning two of those meetings including the final in 2007.