Joe Perry won through to the 188BET Champion of Champions semi-finals in Coventry last night (November 11) when he beat John Higgins 6-5 in the Group 1 final.
Neither player had established more than a one-frame lead in the match but Perry, from Chatteris, came from 5-4 down to seal victory at the Ricoh Arena.
Perry will meet the winner of today’s Group 4, which sees Neil Robertson play Rory McLeod and Shaun Murphy take on Yan Bingtao in the afternoon session, with the two winners playing off in the evening.
Higgins came into the 10th meeting between the players having won eight of the previous nine and he took the opening frame last night with a run of 40 along the way.
Perry’s only previous victory against the four-time World Champion came in the forerunner to this event in the 2008 Premier League, and he levelled with a cool 41 clearance, before nudging himself in front after a quickfire break of 75.
Higgins, who has already won the Australian Goldfields Open and International Championship this season, bounced back by winning a lengthy safety battle in the fourth frame, before going on to make a 66 to level things up at the interval.
Another hard-fought frame went the way of the Scot after the break, as a loose escape by Perry allowed him to move 3-2 up on the colours.
The Players Championship winner responded brilliantly, however, with a quality clearance of 112 to bring the match all square and an equally impressive run of 85 saw him regain the lead.
Higgins responded to return the match to level pegging after the Cambridgeshire cueman missed on the yellow while still 68-38 down in the eighth.
Higgins then moved to within one of victory but a cool run of 87 saw the resolute Perry force the decider.
And it was the world number 10 who had the first opportunity of the 11th frame, but a kick left a frustrated Perry out of position and his run was cut short at 32.
He was offered a reprieve, however, when Higgins left him a red to the top right corner pocket which began a run of 30, and when Perry next potted a red and followed up with the pink his progression to the tournament semi-finals was assured.
“I thoroughly enjoyed that match,” said Perry. “It was a good game, I felt comfortable, played probably as well as I have against John and I am absolutely delighted to beat somebody of John’s class.
“I felt comfortable and confident and stayed positive even when John threw some good stuff at me. I kept believing I was playing well enough to win, a few little things went my way towards the end and I capitalised.
“Sometimes you don’t really feel it but tonight from frame one I felt comfortable and positive. It didn’t mean I was going to win but my demeanour didn’t change even at 5-4 down.
“I will watch tomorrow’s group because my buddy Neil Robertson is playing and I will be routing him on. I normally watch snooker anyway but I will have more of a keen eye on it tomorrow.”