Mark Allen’s hopes of winning three straight Haikou World Open titles were ended by Shaun Murphy on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman has a real liking for the Chinese event and had serenely made his way through to the semi-finals, prompting thoughts of a third title in as many years.
But 2005 world champion Murphy blocked his path, taking a 6-4 win to set-up a final date with Mark Selby.
Selby saw off Marco Fu in the earlier last-four clash, meaning Murphy has a chance to avenge his 6-1 drubbing by his good friend in January’s Masters.
Murphy had to pull out all the stops against an in-form Allen but, after beating Graeme Dott on a fluked black on Friday, looked in the mood to enjoy himself.
He went 1-0 up and, despite being pegged back, knocked in scores of 74 and 69 to go clear at 3-1.
Allen hit back with a 57 but 67 from Murphy put him close to glory. The next two frames were shared and when Allen slammed in a hundred to make it 5-4.
Murphy held his nerve, though, and got over the line.
Earlier in the day, Selby held off a spirited Fu fightback to book his place in the showpiece.