Ali Carter's gritty display earned him a 17-12 win over Stephen Maguire and a place in the World Championship final.
It will be the Englishman's second final after an 18-8 defeat in 2008 by Ronnie O'Sullivan - the player he looks set to meet in this year's final.
Resuming the final session 14-10 up, the 32-year-old took the first two frames in his usual tenacious manner before Maguire pulled two back.
But Carter made a composed 70 break to wrap up the match and reach the final.
Carter produced a sublime matchplay performance, frustrating his opponent with excellent safety play before knocking in frame winning contributions.
Having battled all season with Crohn's disease, and threatening to retire because of ill health, it has been a remarkable turnaround for Carter.
"I was hitting the ball well and it is nice to come here to produce that and be in the final. He was potting some unbelievable long balls and I'm just pleased to be through," Carter told BBC Sport.
"I was in a bad place before Christmas but I've worked hard at my health and fitness."
He is likely to face O'Sullivan, who leads Matthew Stevens 15-9 going into their last session on Saturday evening, an encounter Carter will relish, after defeat by 'The Rocket' four years ago.
Maguire, who ended Stephen Hendry's career in the previous round, was on the back foot having gone 5-3 and 10-6 behind.
Despite making a fantastic 142 break in the 15th frame, the Scot was powerless to resist Carter's experience and nous around the table.
Although the Englishman made a 134 four frames later, he played cautiously and took the opportunities which were presented to him by Maguire.
The fiery Glaswegian rapped his cue on the table and floor when circumstances failed to go his way and he sat ruefully in his chair as he watched his opponent strike a killer blow with each draw of the cue.
But Maguire staged a late comeback in the penultimate session to stay in contention of a maiden final appearance and the third session's play promised an interesting finish.
Carter, who has won two ranking events in his career, took the first in controversial fashion. Holding a 21 point lead, he was put in a tricky snooker by Maguire and after six failed attempts, referee Leo Scullion did not call a miss, leaving him three points behind. Maguire came to the table and hit the jaws with the red, and Carter, after a superb pot, took the frame.
He took the next one too to sit on the verge of victory. The Essex man was staying cool, showing no emotion, watching each ball into the heart of the pocket.
He could have wrapped it up in the next but showed signs of Crucible jitters when missing a simple red and Maguire came in to clinch a frame, and his heart will have been beating just a little bit faster as his adversary took the following too.
However, Carter held his nerve with a break of 70 to book his place in the showpiece event at the Crucible Theatre.