Peter Ebdon held his nerve to survive a remarkable Marco Fu comeback and book his place in the World Championship final with a 17-16 win at The Crucible.
Ebdon looked to have let the match slip from his grasp
Fu started 15-9 behind, but played some sublime snooker to win the first six frames of the session and level the scoreline at 15-15.
Ebdon stopped the rot, winning the next to move within one frame of the final.
With the tension mounting, a resolute Fu forced the decider but Ebdon showed real mental strength to clinch the win.
Ebdon had looked set for a relatively straightforward passage to his third Crucible final when he began the final session of the match with a six-frame lead.
But Fu, who had been in uninspired form for most of the match, was finally able to tap into the rich vein of form which had taken him to the last four.
The Hong Kong player was lucky to get two chances to win the opener, but improved to take the next with a 68.
He then made his first century of the match for the third and held his nerve with some great potting in the last.
After the interval, Fu kept his momentum going with a 71 break and followed it up with a 103 as he brought the score to 15-15.
Ebdon had barely had a chance such was Fu's dominance, but the 2002 champion finally got a frame on the board in the next to lead 16-15.
Fu survived a horrible kick to force the final-frame decider, although he was grateful for a safety shot from Ebdon that saw the yellow bounce out of the knuckle of the pocket into a pottable position.
The last frame swung on a brilliant safety shot from Ebdon.
Fu took four attempts to escape, and gave Ebdon the chance to make a 54. It was not quite enough to win straight away, but Ebdon hung on to win.
"I'm absolutely gone," Ebdon told BBC Sport.
"In all honesty, Marco deserved to win - it was such a gutsy comeback from him.
"He was awesome, I don't want to play him again for a while!"
The dramatic win was a fitting conclusion to a match which got better session by session.
Fu was agonisingly close to a famous win
The opening day was embarrassingly bad, with the match frequently bogged down in lengthy safety exchanges and missed pots as they finished level at 4-4.
The sixth frame lasted 52 minutes, the second longest of this year's tournament, and one fan was heard to shout "Come on lads, it's like watching paint dry" in the final frame.
In the next session, Fu was far from his best but took the final frame to trail 9-7.
Ebdon grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the third session though, making a 122 break in the opener and proceeded to take the next three.
Fu stopped the rot with two frames in a row, but Ebdon moved to within two frames of the final with a late surge.
P Ebdon (Eng) 17-16 M Fu (HK)
0-130 (81) 76-55 (56) 6-62 92-5 (50) 93-1 24-57 103-28 42-62 81-17 (68) 108-16 (107) 5-61 (60) 94-1 (94) 75-38 (74) 54-56 (54 Ebdon) 101-1 (101) 67-70 (67, 70) 122-0 (122) 77-47 66-1 93-5 (93) 8-75 24-62 80-8 86-20 (86) 65-74 27-83 (68) 1-141 (100) 9-88 (52) 0-98 (75) 1-103 (103) 73-0 43-73 89-13 (54)