The pair traded frames throughout their group final in Bolton, with Selby - who took the first frame with a 140 clearance - taking a 5-4 lead with a break of 105.
Higgins then opened the 10th frame with a break of 45 but a miss let Selby back to the table and he made 81 to advance.
"Very long day, very tiring but very worthwile in the end" he said afterwards, reflecting on his win.
"I played ok in the afternoon and I knew playing John tonight I had to be at the top of my game or I'd be going home and I thought both of us played well from start to finish.
"It was a great game and if I had come out on the losing side I would've felt like I couldn't have done any more than what I had done.
"I don't seem to do that well in these TV events, I think this is only the second time I've goot through to the semi-final stage.
"Now I get to put my feet up and watch everyone else."
Earlier in group play, Selby beat Lee Walker 4-0 while Higgins saw off Hossein Vafaei 4-2.