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Luca Brecel ELIMINATED, Ronnie O’Sullivan awaits Crucible’s arc

Vaseline 1 month ago

Rob Maul’s view of the Crucible

The Crucible curse has struck again, as Luca Brecel became its latest victim.

No winner of the World Snooker Championship in more than four decades has successfully retained the title.

Brecel, winner of a first crown in 2023, had hoped to change that dynamic in Sheffield this year with his reckless play.

Yet he suffered a massive collapse when he burst out in a final frame decider with qualifier David Gilbert.

The Belgian Bullet is the 19th man to be claimed by the Curse as he exited the tournament on the opening day.

Gilbert, 42, fought back from 9-6 down to celebrate an epic 10-9 victory, his best result of a disappointing season in which he suffered personal problems.

The Angry Farmer – who will play either Robert Milkins or Pang Junxu in the second round – blew open the top half of the draw with this seismic performance.

More from tonight’s players

Luca Brecel said after their match: “I had a chance to win the match again. If I had gotten through it and started feeling better.

“If I was defending champion, I might have withdrawn.

“If I was in qualifying, maybe. But it’s too big to pull off when you’re the defending champion.

“I was coughing all day and had a headache. But I wasn’t good enough, that’s no excuse.”

Gilbert said: “The state of my game about four to five weeks ago when I withdrew from an event in China, I couldn’t face it.

“I have enormous respect for Luca, a legend of the game. Luca made mistakes. He should have won 10-6.”

There we have it

Day one is coming to an end. And it’s been a big one.

Here are the final scores and final scores from the opening day of the Crucible.

  • Luca Brecel 9-10 Dave Gilbert
  • Ali Carter 5-4 Stephen Maguire
  • Judd Trump 6-3 Hossein Vafaei
  • Zhang Anda 2-5 Jak Jones

Ford 6-3 Walden

Absolutely great stuff from Ricky Walden, putting together a break 142 to take the ninth frame.

Really great potting and that will ensure he leaves here feeling much better about returning tomorrow night to finish this match.

He will need another big performance tomorrow, trailing 6-3. But it’s much more doable now, after being shown there.

Ford 6-2 Walden (0-53)

More to come on Gilbert’s incredible come-from-behind victory.

But on table two, Ford took the eighth frame, but looks set to go to bed with a 6-3 lead.

And we know how dangerous that can be. Brecel throwing away 6-3 and 9-6 leads to a loss.

Luca response

Luca Brecel admitted feeling tired during the final session as he battled illness.

And admits he hopes ‘good guy’ David Gilbert will win the prize.

He told the BBC: “Yes, I am tired. It wasn’t easy being sick.

But I tried and Dave played well. He’s a fantastic player, he deserves it, he’s a good guy. And I hope he wins.

“I never really settled. I never really felt good. I played some good stuff in patches. However, I was very tired during the last session.

“It’s not an excuse, it is what it is, everyone gets sick. It was a good game.”