Liang Wenbo booked his place in the final of the Roewe Shanghai Masters following a scrappy semi-final encounter with Shaun Murphy today.
The 22-year-old Chinese took the match 6-5 although his cause was helped by a below-par display from Murphy, who had cruised into the last four having lost just one frame all week.
Liang had opened a 2-0 advantage after a 102 break in the second frame, but that was as good as the scoring would get.
Murphy pulled the scores level at 2-2 before an error-riddled fifth frame was finally clinched by Liang.
The pair then traded frames before Murphy took the match to a decider following another scrappy 10th frame.
The decider was a nervy affair with both players missing chances before Liang eventually triumphed to secure his place in a ranking tournament final for the first time.
“It’s a disappointing end to a good tournament,” Murphy said afterwards. “It’s the most successful Shanghai Masters I’ve had. I came into the match full of confidence but I played about 60%, whereas earlier in the week I was about 90%.”
Murphy warned Liang, whose gung-ho nature would have cost him the victory on another day, will have to improve in the final where he will meet the winner of today’s other semi-final between world champion John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“He will need to play better to win the tournament and stop playing silly shots,” he added.
“That’s what happens in sport, I had three matches playing very near to my best. This is the semi-final which is very important and I didn’t play my best - I don’t know why.
“If he plays like he played against me today he will lose, but he is capable of winning if he pots more balls and plays better safety.
“He beat me today but if I had played better and not missed the easy balls then I would have won. It was my fault I lost. He’s very entertaining and fun to watch, but this is about winning, not entertaining.”
Liang admitted he rode his luck during the match and was indebted to an unusually subdued Murphy display.
“Murphy played okay but missed a key ball in the last frame,” he said. “It was a tough match. During the break my coach encouraged me, calmed me down and helped me re-focus.”