JOHN Higgins outplayed Mark Selby 9-4 to reach the International Championship final in Daqing, China.
The Scot has rediscovered some of his best form this year despite hitting the age of 40, winning two ranking titles in 2015 to end a drought stretching back to 2012.
Having dispatched Shaun Murphy 6-0 in the last 16 before a quarter-final win over Joe Perry, Higgins was almost as ruthless against the world number one and he told worldsnooker.com: “I have been very pleased with the way I have played in this tournament. I feel as if I’m near the top of my game.
“I concentrated on every frame today and didn’t give Mark many chances. We have similar games and it was just my day today.”
Breaks of 56, 101, 87 and 58 took Higgins out to a 5-1 lead and though 2014 world champion Selby took the last two frames of the opening session, helped by his second half-century of the match with a 58 in frame seven, there was to be no way back.
Higgins made sure of that with breaks of 64 and 54 to stretch his advantage to 7-3 and also took the next to move within one frame of victory.
Selby’s best break of the day, 79, delayed the inevitable but Higgins wrapped up the match in frame 13.
David Gilbert awaits in Sunday’s final and Higgins said: “David Gilbert has played well this week to get through and it’s going to be a great final.
“All the players know how good he is and he should have done a lot better in his career - he’s starting to show that now.”