Ronnie O'Sullivan recovered from a faulty cue tip to beat Marco Fu 6-4 at Alexandra Palace in London and reach the Masters final for the 12th time in his career.
O'Sullivan was allowed to take an early interval as he trailed 2-1 to get his tip replaced and returned to produce some brilliant snooker, which included a break of 122 to level the match at 3-3 and then a further break of 95.
The Londoner claimed afterwards it had been one of the best wins of his career in the circumstances.
He had earlier looked on as the in-form Fu compiled breaks of 110 and 141, levelled it up again at 4-4 with two more half-century breaks and then clinched the next two with successive scores of 82 and 69.
"The tip was gone, completely gone," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport after his best-of-11-frame semifinal.
"It just couldn't take any chalk. I mis-cued five or six times. It was like chalking a bit of slate.
"It was going to wait for the interval but it was so gone and they said 'look, you can take the interval now' and that was sweet.
"It was no risk at all. I could never have won that match. I would have been there all day trying to beat him. He's scoring too heavy, he's playing too well and I knew unless I raised a gear I was going home."
The interval is usually taken after four frames and although O'Sullivan's tip was not actually cracked, tournament organisers agreed to let him change it.
"Everyone around me was saying 'what the hell are you doing?' But you live by the sword and die by the sword," he said.
"It's probably the best match I've ever won, I've got to be honest with you, given the circumstances.
"The way he's playing, it's a massive tournament, new tip. I fancied the job. Even with a new tip. I thought 'if I can get a feel of it'.
"If you're playing well you can get away with a new tip. If you're cueing badly and you put a new tip on, it's over."
When told he was now in his 12th final, O'Sullivan added: "I've only won six though so it's not a very good strike record is it? That's not very good."
O'Sullivan will play the winner of tonight's other semi-final between Joe Perry and Barry Hawkins on Sunday.