Judd Trump reached the UK Championship final for the first time with a 9-7 victory over Neil Robertson in York.
Trump, 22, fired in breaks of 51, 84 and 67 as he led his fellow left-hander 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 in the early stages.
But Robertson's 77 break ensured the players went into the evening's session all-square at 4-4.
Trump pulled ahead to 7-5, then his opponent fought back to level, before the Englishman struck 51 then edged a tight final frame to win.
"I think Neil tried to slow it down and make things awkward for me," said Trump, who will face the winner of Saturday's semi-final between Northern Ireland's Mark Allen and England's Ricky Walden on Sunday.
"The game went really slow and nothing happened for about 20 minutes and I was just sitting there falling asleep. He came back to 7-7 and I thought he could win from there.
Robertson clinches frame with a scream
"In the end I think we were over-trying and that's why we started to miss a few. It'd be nice to end the year on a high and win this tournament."
As for the potential of claiming the £100,000 prize for the champion, Trump said: "It would be perfect in time for Christmas but there's still a long way to go."
Robertson, the 2010 world champion, was left to bemoan a wasted opportunity.
"It's really disappointing because that's probably a match where I can say I really threw it away," said the Australian.
"I could have been playing anyone in the top 10 tonight and I would probably have had the same result."
At 7-5 ahead in the evening session Trump had appeared in total control, but Robertson's stifling tactics looked like they might work as the 29-year-old forced his way back into contention.
Robertson made it 7-6 before a re-rack was required in frame 14. After a period of 28 minutes without a ball being potted, Robertson eventually tied the match with a break of 83.
But when given the chance in the next frame, Trump made sure there was no chance for his opponent to slow proceedings down, recording a break of 51 to move to within one frame of victory.
A nervy, scrappy final frame hung in the balance but eventually Trump took command, closing with 27 to reach the final.