Four-time world champion Higgins was irresistible in a 6-0 defeat of Shaun Murphy on Wednesday and continued his fine form with another dominant display against Perry.

Higgins appeared on course with another whitewash against Perry when he stormed into a 4-0 lead with a top break of 106, but Perry battled back to win three of the next four frames to close the gap to 5-3.

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Higgins sealed victory in the ninth frame with a difficult pink to a baulk corner and then sinking the black.

Higgins already has the Australian Goldfields Open title under his belt this season, and the 40-year-old Scot is now seeking a 28th career ranking title, which would put him ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan and level with Steve Davis.

“Joe was coming back strongly and I was missing a few pressure shots so I was pleased to pot a good pink and then the black to win,” said Higgins.

“The pink was one of my best ever shots. If it had gone 5-4 Joe would have got stronger. I felt nervous towards the end. I’m scoring well in this tournament and I’ll need that against Selby. He will be favourite to win but I’ll be trying my best.

Mark Selby will face John Higgins on Saturday.

Image credit: Imago

“I played in the Asian Tour event last week to get used to the time difference and that has helped me. This has probably taken over as the second biggest tournament on the calendar after the World Championship.”

Higgins faces Selby over 17 frames on Saturday, with Selby fresh off the back of a 6-4 victory over Neil Robertson. The winner will face Thepchaiya Un-Nooh or David Gilbert on Sunday for the £125,000 prize.

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