Masters Snooker: Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy dig deep at Alexandra Palace
Defending champion Mark Selby won his 11th final-frame Masters decider out of 11 to reach the semi-finals at Ally Pally.
Last Updated: 16/01/14 11:55pm
Selby strolled into a 3-1 lead at the first interval despite an early half century giving Higgins the opener.
But the Scot fought back and a nice run of 69 tied things up at 3-3 before Higgins got the better of a black ball game in frame seven to edge ahead.
He also took the eighth to go one frame from victory at 5-3 but wasted chances in the next two, particularly on the lower colours, a kick on the green then missed a tough brown, in frame ten as Selby took the match into a decider.
Both players missed good opportunities to clinch a semi-final spot in the decider, Higgins went 57-0 up, but it was the 'Jester from Leicester' who prevailed from clearing down to the black.
Shaun Murphy stands in the Leicester potter's way to the final after producing a stirring comeback to become the first man through to the last four, batting back from 4-1 down to defeat Hong Kong's Marco Fu 6-4.
The Sale-based potter trailed 3-0 and 4-1 before finding his most fluent break-building form to reel off five frames in succession and secure his place in a third successive Masters semi-final.
Fu knocked out showman Judd Trump in round one and began his second tussle in similarly strong form, taking the first frame with a 76 break.
Murphy missed a costly black off its spot after making 48 in the second, Fu responding with 31 and 30 to take the frame before adding the next.
Murphy finally got on the board in frame four with the help of a 49 but Fu restored his three-frame cushion with a 71 in the frame after the interval.
The match turned from then on, though, as Murphy roared back into the game. Breaks of 86 and 81 got him within one frame and he followed up with 117 to level the match.
Frame nine came down to a crucial safety battle on the final red and then the yellow, on which Fu laid a devilish snooker which Murphy twice missed by the narrowest margin.
Fu turned down two potting opportunities though, and was left regretting those decisions when Murphy cleared the colours to lead for the first time.
And he wrapped up victory in the next, taking control with a 64 and finishing things off when Fu left him a pot on the green.
Murphy will face either four-time world champion John Higgins or Mark Selby for a place in the final.