Stephen Maguire beat an off-colour Judd Trump 9-6 to reach the final of the Coral Tour Championship.
Despite leading 4-2, 5-4 and 6-5, Trump was never really at the races in a match where his high break was 97, one of just three half-centuries.
Maguire himself was far below the level reached against Neil Robertson in round one, but from the moment he pinched the 12th frame to draw level he took control and capitalised on the mistakes of his opponent to run out a worthy winner.
At the end of a scrappy match which failed to live up to expectations, Maguire's victory was fittingly confirmed via a fluked snooker as he reached his second ranking final of the season, having been beaten by Ding Junhui in the UK Championship.
Should he go one better here, it will be thanks to Ding, whose withdrawal from the event allowed the Scotsman into the field as a last-minute replacement. For a player who never quite has done things by the book, it seems almost fitting.
"Over the moon," was Maguire's assessment. "It wasn't that pretty to watch, and it wasn't that pretty to play. It wasn't the best game, but you still have to win.
"The first session, both of us were struggling. The balls were all wrong and we just couldn't get by; four each was quite fair. Tonight, I knicked framed when it went close. Listen, they're just the same as a century.
"It's (first ranking win since 2013) still 10 frames away. It's always nice to be in a final, I'm just delighted."
After the two exchanged jabs in some light sparring to begin the match, it was Trump who landed the first real blow, breaks of 97 and 57 earning him a 4-2 lead.
Maguire needed a response as the afternoon session came to an end and found one, breaks of 51 and 132 ensuring the match would head into the evening perfectly poised.
Again it was Trump who edged ahead, first at 5-4 and then at 6-5, and had he taken the 12th frame perhaps he would have survived despite clearly being below his best. But instead it went to Maguire, who took a chance he didn't expect with both hands.
Trump needed to find something during the mid-session interval but failed to do so, Maguire first keeping him chained to his chair to move ahead at 7-6, before taking the next to get within one despite a forceful, brilliant long red from Trump which he again failed to build on.
In truth all of these frames were hallmarked by rare Trump misses, his ability to cast a spell over the cue ball somehow absent and his range way off when attempting to pot from distance. It was all rather slack, and at times careless; though it's also true that he didn't have the run of the ball in quite the way his opponent did.
That much was apparent again in frame 15. Maguire had engineered a big lead but still had work to do until laying a snooker behind the green after a reckless attempt at a long red, and while Trump escaped, the damage was done with Maguire returning to pot the same red and going on to build an unassailable lead.
Maguire said after his victory over Robertson that he couldn't play that well again, and he was right. Trump's failure was in allowing him to win so well regardless. The Scot now heads into the final eyeing the Coral Series bonus, and hoping to go one better than fellow lucky-loser Ali Carter, who reached the Masters final having made the field as first reserve.
"I think I struggled the whole tournament with the conditions," said Trump, who did little to hide his displeasure at the end of the match - played on the hottest day of the year in the UK.
"(They) were pretty poor, and that's why the standard was so bad. If the conditions are good I seem to play well. It's too hot to play snooker today. It's just a shame the conditions are so bad."
Daily schedule & results
- Matches played over two sessions, beginning at 1330 BST and 1900 BST
- Quarter-finals and semi-finals best of 17 frames; final best of 19
Saturday June 20
- Neil Robertson 5-9 Stephen Maguire
Sunday June 21
- Judd Trump 9-4 John Higgins
Monday June 22
- Mark Selby 9-6 Yan Bingtao
Tuesday June 23
- Shaun Murphy 8-9 Mark Allen
Wednesday June 24
- Judd Trump 6-9 Stephen Maguire
Thursday June 25
- Mark Selby v Mark Allen
Friday June 26
- Stephen Maguire v Selby/Allen
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