Ronnie O’Sullivan recovered from the brink of defeat to beat Mark Selby 17-16 and set up a World Championship final against Kyren Wilson.
O’Sullivan, beaten by Selby in the 2014 final, was 16-14 behind but won two quick-fire frames and a nervy decider to reach his seventh Sheffield final.
The best-of-35 final against fellow Englishman Wilson, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday, will see fans return to the Crucible Theatre after the government announced the resumption of pilot events with spectators.
World number eight Wilson earlier progressed into his maiden final following a remarkable final-frame decider against Scotland’s Anthony McGill.
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry said on BBC Two: « You just can’t believe how both semi-finals have finished today, the tension has been incredible. »
O’Sullivan told BBC Two: « For three days I’ve just been looking for a cue action where I can hit the ball half straight.
« I’m watching him [Selby] cue up and he’s got the perfect set-up and the perfect start by trying to make the score look respectable, but some of my play wasn’t great.
« If I can find the cue action then I will enjoy the final. Cue action first and everything else is a bonus. »
O’Sullivan will be going for his sixth world title to draw level alongside Steve Davis’ haul and just one behind legendary Scot Hendry.
Victory will also make him the most successful snooker player of all time with 37th ranking titles, one clear of Hendry.
Two-time ranking event winner Wilson, meanwhile, will be appearing in his second Triple Crown event final having lost in the 2018 Masters to Mark Allen.
Five-time champion O’Sullivan led 5-3 but Selby fought back to lead 9-7 and could have extended his advantage to 14-9, but O’Sullivan responded by ending the second session trailing 13-11.
He started the final session with 114 and took the next to level the contest with his fourth frame in a row.
Selby stopped the rot by pinching the next with a counter-attack break of 56 and a further 63 took him two frames from victory.
O’Sullivan, who has won a record 19 Triple Crown titles, took the next but some rash shots allowed Selby to extend his lead to 16-14.
Selby said afterwards: « I felt like it was a little bit disrespectful the way he played, every time I got him in a snooker he just went down and hit the ball at 100mph and it could have gone anywhere.
« Whether he was just in that frame of mind but felt it was a little disrespectful for me at the table. »
‘The Rocket’ decided to go all-out attacking and made a quick-fire 138 total clearance to reduce his arrears and forced a final-frame decider with a break of 71.
The conclusion of the first semi-final earlier in the day was thrilling and this turned out to be the same – O’Sullivan made 64 in the 33rd frame but missed the final red he needed and Selby struck 34.
After a bout of tactical play on the red, O’Sullivan forced the error and cleared the colours to claim his first victory over Selby in Sheffield.
Responding to Selby’s comments, O’Sullivan said: « You want to hit it as hard as you can and hopefully get a fluke otherwise I could give 40 points away.
« Don’t blame me, blame the miss rule. If I was as good as Mark Selby at getting out of snookers, I could maybe get the balls safe. I haven’t got a clue.
« He is just feeling a little bit sore I suppose, he has just lost a semi-final of the World Championship. I understand that. »
World news – FI – O’Sullivan beats Selby to reach final