John Higgins stood firm in the face of a barnstorming start from David Gilbert to claim a 5-3 win and a place in the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open.
Gilbert has been as good as anyone in the early stages of the season, and was looking to back up his win in the Champions League.
He rattled off two frames in quick succession, but Higgins has made a career out of nuggety comebacks and he took his chances when they emerged to secure a meeting with Yan Bingtao in the last four.
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Gilbert was hugely impressive in disposing of world champion Mark Selby, and he carried that form into the opening of his quarter final.
A break of 79 secured the opener, and a 69 was good enough to take the second - as Higgins failed to pot a ball in the opening two frames.
Higgins was kept cold for the opening two frames, but an 81 in the third settled him into the match.
Gilbert looked in command of the fourth, but Higgins benefited from an outrageous fluke - and it proved to be the pivotal moment in the contest.

Higgins drops fluke-of-the-tournament contender against Gilbert

Higgins attempted to nudge a red on the left rail back up the table, but misjudged it to such an extent that it went into the right corner. The Scot is not one to pass up gifts, and he rolled in a break of 64 to draw level.
Gilbert benefited from a fluke of his own in the fifth, but unlike Higgins he did not drop on a colour.
A couple of chances came Gilbert’s way in the fifth, but he failed to take them and Higgins stepped in to win his third frame on the spin.
“He’s just lost his way a little bit,” Neal Foulds said of Gilbert on Eurosport commentary. “Before the interval and since, he’s stopped walking round the table in as confident a manner. Something’s not quite the same.
Two-nil up to three-two down takes the wind from your sails a little bit.
Higgins comprehensively won a safety battle on his way to taking the sixth frame, but Gilbert showed his battling qualities by knocking in an excellent blue and surviving a test of his nerve by getting out of a couple of fiendish snookers to cut the gap to one.
Gilbert had a chance in the eighth, but left a tough red in the jaws - and Higgins sprang from his chair aware of the opportunity presented to him. A break of 49 did not put the frame beyond doubt, but Gilbert's counter broke down on 28 and Higgins won a protracted safety battle before closing out the match with a dramatic up and down the table to pot the green to set up a clash with Yan following his 5-0 mauling of Mitchell Mann.
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