Belgian snooker player Luca Brecel has pulled off a remarkable comeback to reach the World Championship final against Mark Selby. Brecel overturned a nine-frame deficit to win 11 frames in a row and make history as the first player to achieve such a feat at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. In the other semi-final, Selby beat Mark Allen 17-15 in a match that went into the early hours of Sunday.
Selby had looked set for victory at 16-10, but Allen took five consecutive frames to put the pressure on. However, Selby kept his nerve to reach his sixth world final. Meanwhile, Brecel trailed 14-5 against 20-year-old qualifier Si Jiahui, who was bidding to become the youngest Crucible finalist and the first debutant world champion since 1979. But Brecel mounted an impressive fightback to win the final five frames of Friday’s evening session and continued his momentum on Saturday, ending Si’s run.
Brecel had never progressed beyond the first round before, making his achievement all the more impressive. After his win, he said he was in disbelief and shaking with excitement. Si praised Brecel’s nearly perfect snooker in the final two sessions and acknowledged his own weaknesses.
Selby and Allen’s match was much slower, prompting criticism from Stephen Hendry for casting a “dark cloud” over the Crucible. The Friday session ended early, and Saturday’s morning session was equally challenging. Despite Selby’s impressive evening performance, Allen made a fierce comeback to make it 16-15. Selby finally secured victory with a missed mid-range red from Allen, winning the match at 12:47 am local time, just 12 hours before the scheduled start of the final.
The stage is now set for a thrilling final between Selby and Brecel, with Selby aiming to secure his fourth world championship title and Brecel hoping to become the first Belgian to win the event. The final promises to be an exciting and intense match, with both players eager to lift the trophy.