Mark Williams denied a gutsy fightback from John Higgins gain a dramatic 18-16 victory and land his third World Snooker Championship 15 years on from his second.
The Welshman built what appeared to be an unassailable early advantage, but Higgins rallied from 14-7 behind to level at 15-15 and ensure a thrilling conclusion.
Williams edged ahead again and moved within one of the title with a century break, only to miss a simple pink ball and allow Higgins to mop up in trademark fashion to get back within one.
Somehow, Williams found the resolve to knock in a difficult red in the next frame and from there was able to build a match-winning lead as Higgins’ stirring fightback came up short.
Williams said: “It’s unbelievable. Twelve months ago I wasn’t even here. I watched it in a caravan.
“To play John in a final is an experience in itself.
“You’ve got to expect a comeback because when you’re 50 or 60 in front he’s the best I’ve ever seen at clearing up and that includes [Ronnie] O’Sullivan.
“I was thinking, ‘Jesus I’m not going to get over the line here’.
“I knew at the end if I didn’t get enough he was going to clear up again.
“But I’m over the moon.”
Higgins, who also lost in the final in 2017, paid tribute to his opponent.
“The red he potted in the middle was a joke and the clearance he produced was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
“I’m obviously disappointed but he’s a brilliant champion.”