John Higgins the three times Crucible winner and reigning champion, trailed 9-7 overnight to Steve Davis.
Looking very focused, in the knowledge his 2010 Betfred.com World Championship could end in this last session, against the rejuvenated Davis.
He got off to good start, solid runs of 70 and 28 reducing his deficit to just the single frame.
In the next, Higgins the 'Wizard of Wishaw' created a piece of his own Crucible history. With an immaculate 116 break as he notched up his 100th century at snookers' greatest venue and more importantly for the Scot he leveled the tie at 9-9.
After an initial 37 break from Davis the six times champion, Higgins then began to rally and with the balls in favourable positions he looked set to go in front in the match for the first time. But it was not to be, he missed a blue allowing Davis to counter. The 52 year old was up to the task, again he produced the goods and calmly rolled in a 48 break, taking the lead at 10-9.
Davis started well in the next with a run of 49, then Higgins replied, a modest break of 41 getting the Scot back into the frame. After a safety exchange the the world number four was confronted with a tough chance on the blue. The cueball rolled towards the blue but he had the bad fortune of getting a kick, forcing the blue off course. Clearly frustrated, all he could do was go back to his seat.
With the cue ball tight on the side cushion, Davis showed nerves of steel slotting home the blue leaving prime position on the pink which he Converted to open up his two frame lead again at 11-9.
Refusing to buckle under the pressure, Higgins again drew on all his battling qualities. A determined effort of 59 reducing the arrears at 11-10 and sixteen minutes later he restored parity again at 11-11.
Davis rolled back the years yet again in frame 23. After Higgins missed a black off the spot, whilst trying to retain good position for his next red. The 'Nugget' sealed the frame with a gallant 35 break, putting himself within touching distance of a quarter-final berth and a truly remarkable achievment at 12-11.
With the Crucible crowd on the edge of their seats,hoping for Higgins to force the decider in this epic match. The defending champion opened up a 43 point lead, Davis chipped away, reducing his deficit to just three points with only the colours remaining.
Davis, who had to qualify for this years final stages potted the yellow and green. He then had a choice on the brown to either play safe or double the brown to the centre, which in turn would develope the blue to a favourable position.He elected to play the more aggressive option.
With the Crucible in silence, he double the brown, pushing the blue over the corner pocket. He slotted the blue in, leaving only a straight pink to the middle pocket for victory. He knocked in the pink, and clearly emotional on his success he stood there almost unable to believe it. Defending champion John Higgins, shook the hand of the six times champion as the pair received a standing ovation.
Davis will now play Neil Robertson in the Quarter-final.
Steve Davis post match comments
I knew I was playing good in the build up to the World Championship, I fancied I was playing ok but yo unever know how you're going to do. I got off to such a good start against John but I suppose the inner belief got stronger as the match went on but then off course the nerves kicked in.
Until I potted the pink and held myself together whilst shaking like a leaf, perhaps I didn't believe it was going to happen. Just amazing to beat the John Higgins, one of the greatest players to have held a cue at the Crucible, as the champion just amazing.
I had a chance of potting the green and then playing a very good safety off the brown but didn't resolve the frame. I had one chance to win it and I thought screw back for the green and leave yourself a double on the brown, you never know. One chance, maybe the best chance of the match against John Higgins because he can mop the balls up at anytime.
But I thought screw it back and I got the perfect angle on the brown and I thought this is your moment just go for it. The blue went lovely over the pocket and I was perfect on the pink but I still didn't fancy potting it I was wobbling like anything. How it went in I don't know.
Relief does come first and then the dawning realisation that I've knocked John out. Then he came over and wished me the best, he's such a great champion and sportsman. You couldn't beat a nicer bloke.
Yeah, I got the same feelings a bit ,I've rectified my game enough that I get the same feelings and I suppose that helped me not to get to upset when I make a mistake when it's the sharp end of games. I made the ultimate mistake in 85!
All I thought was keep your head as still as possible because I've been moving it a bit and it's been working.
That would be quite incredible (the one table setup). There are different scenarios, Marco was supposed to beat Martin and Neil was if it turns out to be the final result. If anyone thinks I will be the favourite to beat him they must consider how good a player he is and to get here. The one table scenario would be a dream it looked like my only way of getting to that stage would be to be play Dennis in the re-match.
I've been as focused in the build-up to this event than any I can remember. I've really enjoyed the challenge of getting ready for it, since I beat Adrian Gunnell in the qualifier. I'm not really sure why, I started keeping my head still. A gentleman emailed me on a website where I offer advice and said I was moving my head since I played pool. I went he doesn't know what he's talking about, then I thought perhaps I was.
In the build up to the World's that all I thought about and the practise got better and better. I thought all I've got to do is come to the Crucible and keep my head still. It's a simple thought.
I had hald a tear in my eye through shock and belief, maybe a little bit of emotion but not booing.
John Higgins post match comments
It's the best place in the world to be if your playing well and on top of your game but it's also the worst if your struggling. It was tough out there, I struggled out there but every credit to Steve, I'm taking nothing away from the great man.
For me he is the greatest, to be playing at 52 years old and to perform to that standard, it's just incredible.
I was and was'nt surprized of the pressure he put me under. I knew he would be able to play good stuff, because although not doing great over the past few years he as put in some excellent performances. But to compete the way he did, at his age is amazing.
The red I missed in the last was bad. My cueing was not great out there, I was snatching on everything.
I missed some crucial pots in the match and the balls never forgive you, if you do that. I knew he was going to clear up to win the match, I just knew it.
It's disappointing because last year I held myself together so well under pressure but this year I was just all over the place.
He was definitely the better player, for long periods of the match I was just trying scrap it out with him.There were times out there when his cue ball control was a lesson to me.
I'll go home now and dust myself down, but I would like to see him the final against maybe my fellow Scot Graeme Dott.
Obviously it's going to be tough for Steve to win the tournament. Last year I had some monumental battles and at the end I was dead on my feet, so at 52 years of age it's going to be tough.
Steve was my childhood hero but I hated him out there,it's about being professional. After the balls have been potted though,it's all over and you become normal again, so I shook his hand and wished him all the best.