Selby brought an end to Zhao Xintong's giant-killing to reach his first ever China Championship final, prevailing 6-4.
Zhao had previously dumped out Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins to take his place in his first ranking semi-final, and sparked hopes of another memorable win when he came from 4-1 down to level 4-4.
But world No 1 Selby fended off the revival, winning a scrappy ninth frame before a run of 63 sealed the win.
Selby cleans up to win final frame thriller and punish crucial Higgins error
Classy Selby survives scare to seal win against Zhao
The Leicester cueman said afterwards: "I played well for most of the match, then I missed a red to a centre pocket at 4-1 and the match turned. Zhao put me under pressure and played some good safety.
"John Higgins is a phenomenal player so it will be a very tough final. I will just enjoy it and try my hardest."
World No 4 Higgins overcame Lyu Haotian 6-3 to book his place in the final in Guangzhou on Sunday as he bids to claim the £150,000 prize.
It will be Higgins 49th ranking final of his career as he aims for a 31st title, adding to his last at the Welsh Open in March.
John Higgins sinks sumptuous long red in win over Lyu Haotian
The 43-year-old Scot built a 5-1 lead today with top breaks of 57, 57 and 59 before Lyu pulled two frames back.
But Higgins sealed victory in the ninth with a run of 62, and he said: ”The conditions today were beautiful, having been difficult earlier in the week.
"If Lyu had played today the same way he did in the quarter-finals I would have been in for a really tough game. But luckily for me he wasn’t at his best and I just picked up the pieces. I don’t know how I’m in the final but obviously I’m delighted."
Huge tension as crucial frame 17 goes down to nailbiting final black
Higgins holds slender advantage over Selby in China Championship final
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