Brecel keeps hopes alive with fightback against Si in stunning session of snooker
Luca Brecel kept his hopes of reaching the World Championship final alive by winning the final five frames of the third session against Si Jiahui to trail 14-10.
However, Brecel fought back with more attacking snooker of his own with the Crucible crowd loving every moment of the match.
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Having opened up an 11-5 lead earlier on Friday, Si knocked in a 90 and produced a 132, his highest break of the tournament so far, to take a 13-5 lead.
A 97 saw him take the next frame too, to lead by nine frames, a margin nobody has ever come back from to win by at the Crucible, before Brecel responded with a tidy 108 of his own to make it 14-6 going into the mid-session interval.
Ronnie O’Sullivan said Si was a “phenomenon”, comparing him to Stephen Hendry in the Eurosport studio, but Brecel continued his fightback after the break.
The Belgian Bullet began to play exhibition snooker on his way to winning the next two frames with a very aggressive approach.
One highlight was an extremely thin cut on a red near the pink spot into the right middle, with the cue ball next to the red.
Brecel missed frame ball in Frame 23, but wasn’t punished by Si, who left himself with a tricky black that wobbled the jaws and saw his lead reduced to 14-9.
Si was in first in the final frame of the night when he executed a plant from nowhere at the bottom of the bunch, into the green pocket.
He ended up playing too many recovery shots as he mustered up a 27. On his next visit to the table, he tried another optimistic plant and missed.
Brecel smartly cannoned a red into the blue to get a break going himself and he brilliantly went on to make a break of 53, but missed the final red to give Si a golden chance of stealing the frame.
However, the Crucible debutant unexpectedly missed the green and thumped the table in frustration, so will carry a four-frame lead into Saturday’s final session at 14:30 UK time.
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