Six months after threatening to quit the sport, John Higgins booked his place in his eighth World Championship final after edging a dramatic semi-final decider against David Gilbert.

The 43-year-old Scot hit a 139 total clearance to set up the one-frame shoot-out then capitalised on a missed black by Gilbert to fire what would prove to be a match-winning 55 break and clinch a 17-16 win and will now meet Judd Trump - in what will be a repeat of the 2011 decider. 

Higgins had started the final session 13-11 down but went on to cap a remarkable career revival having intimated he was ready to retire after losing in the second round of the UK Championships late last year.

Trump completed a 17-11 victory over qualifier Gary Wilson.

Resuming with a 14-10 advantage, Trump won the opening frame but the Wallsend battler hit back to reduce the arrears in the next.

Trump finished in style with a 97 clearance to move one frame from victory then an 88 to complete the job.

Higgins said after his victory: "I was at a low ebb around Christmas - probably the lowest ebb I've ever been in playing the game.

"I can't really explain to be honest. I apologised to Dave - I told him I brought him down to my level in the first three sessions.

"I was really poor and I think Dave really let me off the hook. I was over the moon to be only 13-11 (on Friday night). I was feeling good but nothing was happening."

The Scot's dissatisfaction had again been plain to see in the second session on Friday which was classed by some snooker experts as one of the worst he has ever played.

Indeed it was Higgins who was more pleased with the overnight scoreline and, despite Gilbert firing a 105 clearance in the opening session of the day, there was a hint of inevitability about the Higgins comeback.

Four frames in a row duly followed as Higgins grabbed the lead at 15-14 for the first time since the fifth frame, suggesting that he had repelled the challenge of the Tamworth player.

But Gilbert levelled with a 78 then went one frame from victory before Higgins drew on his vast reserves of experience, first with his stunning clearance then after a cagey safety battle which saw him over the line.

Tearful Gilbert, who had arrived at the tournament with few expectations but twice blew a five-frame advantage in the match, broke down in tears in the post-match press conference.

Gilbert said: "I'm absolutely gutted to lose. I could have got to a world final but I've got nothing to feel sad about. I came here with no expectations and to end up on the one table against a legend like John, it was an honour."