Mark Selby earned himself a shot at a first UK Championship title on Sunday by beating Mark Davis 9-4 in the semi-finals, with the win also meaning he will become the world No. 1 again.
Selby started quickly against Davis, who beat three-time UK champion John Higgins and Matthew Stevens en route to the semis, and showed his excellent form with a superb 121 break to take the second frame.
Alertness from the off had been missing from Selby's game in previous rounds against Ryan Day and Neil Robertson, in particular against the Australian Robertson when he was forced to claw his way back from 4-0 down to win a thriller 6-4.
So when the Leicester man pulled out a 3-0 lead in Saturday's semi-final at the Barbican Centre in York, the chances of Davis, 40, reaching his first top-level final looked slim.
Selby stretched ahead to take a 6-2 lead into the evening session but then Davis' game started to return. Although he lost the ninth frame by failing to pot a routine red the Hastings man held the table to make it 7-3.
Now it was Selby's turn to look wasteful but he recovered to play a masterful frame, in which Davis did not pot a ball, to put one foot in the 19-frame final.
Yet Davis came back again in a hesitant and error-strewn 12th to reach the interval with an outside chance at 8-4 behind. However he blew his time at the table after the interlude, leaving Selby to somehow clear up despite potting the white twice.
The win means that Selby will replace Judd Trump, who crashed out in the first round to qualifier Mark Joyce, at the top of the world rankings.
Standing between Selby and a maiden UK Championship crown is Shaun Murphy who booked his place on Friday with a stunning comeback against Ali Carter to win 9-8.
At 8-4 down, Murphy kicked into action and took five frames in a row and the match as Carter was helpless to resist Murphy's high-scoring game. But Murphy admitted that his resurrection from a wholly unlikely position had even taken him by surprise.
"I can't believe that I won the match," Murphy told the BBC. "I felt he was going to paste me 9-4. I'm blown away.
"For the semis of the UK Championships, when I was all but dead and buried, that's got to be my best five-frame spell ever. I don't feel that Ali lost it - I feel that I won it and I'm really proud."