MARCO Fu reached the grand final of the International Championship after beating Joe Perry in a tense semi-final which went the distance.
The world number eleven will play his third ranking final of the season on Sunday after, like his quarter-final win, he came back from a slow start to win the deciding frame.
Fu will face the winner of Saturday’s second semi-final between Ding Junhui and Graeme Dott.
With the match locked at 8-8, it could have gone either way, but a brilliant pot on the final brown helped the Hong Kong star over the winning line and denied Perry reaching his first major ranking final.
Fu’s win continues an impressive season so far after he won the Australian Open and reached the final of a PTC event earlier in the campaign.
But it was Perry, playing in his first major ranking semi-final since in more than five years, who made the brighter start leading 3-1 and then 5-3 at the halfway stage.
But Fu made a much-needed strong start to the evening session winning the first three frames to take a 6-5 lead.
The match then turned again as a break of 103 saw Perry level before he regained his lead winning a scrappy 13th frame only for Fu to take the next two frames and be within one of the final.
But Perry dominated frame 16 to force the match into a tense deciding frame with the scores level at 8-8.
Perry dominated the frame early on building a 36-8 lead before Fu fought back into contention.
Looking to seal the match Fu though missed the final red to give Perry some renewed hope. But Fu’s braveness was rewarded when he successfully took on a long thin cut on the final brown into the baulk corner pocket to leave an agonised Perry with too much to do.