Mark Selby came through a monstrous battle with Neil Robertson 17-15 to reach the 2014 World Championship final, where he will face long-term rival Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible.
The last four clash was in complete contrast to O’Sullivan’s affair that didn’t even reach the fourth session.
Selby and Robertson not only needed all four bouts of play but also required just one frame shy of the formatted 33 frames.
In a gripping encounter that encapsulated every element that the sport of snooker has to offer, Selby emerged victorious after a final session in which the standard of play actually increased despite the rising tension inside the cauldron arena.
Both players, of course, know what it takes to reach a final before after featuring in the 2007 and 2010 showpiece clashes, the latter of which Robertson went on to capture championship glory.
The Australian was the marginal favourite going into this clash of the worlds no.1 and 2 but it was always likely to follow the pattern that ultimately materialised.
At times, Selby boasted three-frame advantages only to each time be pegged back by Robertson, the man who beat him in the final of this season’s UK Championship in York.
When Robertson won the first game of tonight’s session to go 13-12 ahead and into the lead for the first time since the third frame, one would have been forgiven for thinking that Selby’s chances had gone by the wayside.
Yet, the 30 year-old isn’t dubbed the master of brinkmanship for no reason, and he shifted through the gears with breaks of 79, 77, 54 and 74 to just about reach the winning post first.
Not even Robertson’s 103rd ton of the season could prevent the advance of Selby into what could potentially translate into a classic final with O’Sullivan.
More on that tomorrow morning, though, as I’ll be publishing a full preview of, what on paper anyway, appears to be a mouth-watering prospect of two of snooker’s heaviest hitters.