Barry Hawkins' Champion of Champions run is over after a 6-3 Semi-Final defeat to Judd Trump in Bolton.
The two had met in the European Masters Final in August, Hawkins winning 9-6, but he was in danger of a 6-0 thrashing this time after losing all four frames of the opening session on Friday night.
He lost the fifth when play resumed, but the Ditton cueman then reeled off three frames in a row, and had his chances in the ninth, before Trump finally got over the line.
"He started missing a couple [of shots] at the end there, mistimed a couple," Hawkins told ITV.
"I think the pink I missed in the 5-3 into the middle, I definitely thought it was in. If it goes 5-4 who knows - you only need two quick frames.
"I just stuck in there, really, just kept battling away and at 5-3 I'm back in the game."
Hawkins, making his first appearance in the tournament for five years, went into the match on the back of an impressive 4-0 win over world champion Luca Brecel and a 6-2 thrashing of Robert Milkins, and a break of 61 in the opener put the world No.12 in the driving seat before Trump edged the safety battle 76-65.
Runs of 69 and 71 wrapped up frames two and three for Trump, and with the victory target just six Hawkins needed to get on the scoreboard quickly. However breaks of 39 and 27 for the world No.2 left the Hawk 4-0 down at the interval and Trump carried on from where he left off with a break of 99 in frame five.
The whitewash was avoided thanks to a run of 67 in frame six and Hawkins prolonged the contest further with a 68-0 win in frame seven before Trump conceded the eighth.
That was as good as it got for the Kent potter, who missed a tricky red when 13 points behind in frame nine. When he next returned to the table he needed snookers but conceded with the score 64-17.
"Taking nothing away from Judd he played great to go 5-0 up," Hawkins added.
"He had a little bit of run of the ball but he was playing great as well, not missing anything. I just felt like I was completely shut out and struggling to get opportunities, really."