VETERAN Alan McManus rolled back the years after a stunning victory over John Higgins earned him a place in the World Championship semi-finals – for the first time in 23 years.
The 45-year-old stands just two wins away from what would be one of snooker’s most surprising World Championship feats in the history of the game.
As like his previous matches against Stephen Maguire and Ali Carter, McManus was the under-dog when he faced the four times world champion and close friend Higgins but a gritty display saw him reach the winning line first with an impressive 13-11 win.
McManus on Thursday will play at the Crucible’s famous one table set up for the first time since 1993 when he was denied a place in the final by snooker legend Stephen Hendry.
The world number 29 will meet Ding Junhui with both players aiming to secure a place in the World Championship for the first time.
China’s Ding thrashed Mark Williams 13-3 to secure his first semi-final appearance at the Crucible since 2011.
Elsewhere, Mark Selby remains the bookies favourite to land the title for a second time after he beat talented star Kyren Wilson 13-8.
Selby dominated the match throughout taking a commanding overnight lead of 10-6 going into today’s crucial final session.
A thrilled Selby says he has his eyes on the big prize.
He said: “It’s going to be tough, but I’ve just got to try and stay fresh and keep playing like I can. If I go out there and I’m switched on, I don’t really mind who I play.”
He also praised 24-year-old Wilson’s form and said one day he will become world champion.
And completing the semi-final line is Hong Kong’s Marco Fu who thwarted off a strong fightback from Barry Hawkins to claim a 13-11 victory.
Fu will play in the semi-final stages of the World Championship for just the second time after falling to an agonising final frame decider defeat to Peter Ebdon ten years ago.
Fu appeared to be in full control when he led 9-1 during the second session but Hawkins, who knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan just 48 hours before, hit back to create more late drama.
But when Hawkins failed to build on a 60-0 lead in the 24th frame, Fu showed excellent composure to bounce back and secure his place in the last four.
World Championship 2016 Semi-Final Draw
Alan McMANUS vs DING JUNHUI
Marco FU vs Mark SELBY