30 Apr 2023

Belgian unleashes fightback at snooker world champs

10:04 am on 30 April 2023

15/01/2012 - BGC Master Snooker - 2012 - Ding Junhui v Ronnie O'Sullivan- Ding Junhui. - Photo: Charlie Crowhurst / Offside.

Photo: Photosport

Belgium's Luca Brecel staged the biggest comeback ever seen at the Crucible to move into his first World Snooker Championship final by winning 11 frames in a row to beat China's Si Jiahui 17-15 on Sunday.

Brecel, who stunned defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals when he reeled off seven successive frames, trailed his Chinese opponent 14-5 before mounting his comeback over two days.

In 2012, Brecel became the youngest player to qualify for the World Snooker Championship when he was 17 but he had never gone past the first round at The Crucible in Sheffield, England.

He has now become the first player in the venue's history to overturn a nine-frame deficit.

Exhaustion took over as he potted the decisive blue and nearly sank to the floor as he clinched victory while the crowd gave him a standing ovation and reached over the railings to shake his hand.

"I told my girlfriend that if I win it'll be the most emotional feeling ever and the most crazy feeling inside my body," Brecel told the BBC.

"I could not believe it when I got the chance at the end. I was shaking so much and to win means so much in such a tough game and in such a big tournament.

"I could never dream of winning from 14-5. It is crazy. The way I played to come back was not scrappy, I just played great snooker and that's the most important thing."

A heartbroken Si said Brecel played "perfect snooker" in the last two sessions to come out on top in the best of 33 match.

"I really wanted to win and I felt really nervous and couldn't really get going. I am feeling disappointed, but not too disappointed," he said.

Brecel will face either four-time world champion Mark Selby or Mark Allen who are currently playing in the other semi-final.

- Reuters