Antrim potter Mark Allen edged through 6-5 against Nigel Bond in a final-frame decider at the UK Championship in York.
Bond, aged 54, had led 3-1 but Allen, who was runner up last year, won three frames in a row to go 4-3 and then 5-4 ahead.
Allen was beaten by Judd Trump in the 2011 final, and by Ronnie O'Sullivan last year but remains the highest ranked player still in the tournament.
Scotland's Stephen Maguire beat Wales' Matthew Stevens 6-4 to set up a semi-final against Allen.
Maguire had fractured his foot in China in October, and said after the match: "The adrenaline was pumping and I was walking around as though it was normal but I might pay for that once I calm down in the morning.
"The last few matches it has been getting sore because I have been on my feet and it has been the tension but I got carried away by playing a little bit too quickly. I was zoned out."
Three-time UK Championship winner John Higgins was beaten 6-3 by Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao.
Yan had beaten world number four Neil Robertson in the previous round, and the world number 20 made a number of 30-plus breaks to reach his first semi-final in a Triple Crown event, where he will take on another Chinese player, Ding Junhui.
Speaking after the defeat, Higgins told BBC Sport: "I was just not good enough. I played pretty bad and I struggled with the conditions. The table was challenging.
"Things were landing awkwardly but every credit to Yan. He only took chances on when he was favourite to get them and he played some great safety."
After beating the previous champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the fourth round, Ding secured a comfortable 6-2 win over Lian Wenbo.
Ding took a first session lead of 3-1 before closing out for the win as he moves into his first UK Championship semi-final since he lifted the title in 2009.