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Brecel Begins Title Defence With Win
Luca Brecel began the defence of his Evergrande China Championship title with a 5-1 defeat of tour rookie Joe O’Connor.
The Belgian picked up ranking silverware for the first time in his career last year in Guangzhou, thanks to a stunning 10-5 win over Shaun Murphy in the final.
However, Brecel’s season ended on a low point after suffering a first round exit at the World Championship against Ricky Walden. Following today’s game he admitted that defeat spurred him on to make a lifestyle change to help him on the table.
Brecel said: “After the World Championship I said to my family that I have to change something. I changed my diet, I changed my fitness and I practise every day now. I wouldn’t have been doing that last year. That is paying off now. My game is in good shape, I just need to get some confidence and I can maybe get back to semi-finals and finals.”
World Champion Mark Williams swept aside Rod Lawler 5-0 to book a clash against Ken Doherty, the man he defeated in the 2003 world final, in the next round. The Welshman compiled breaks of 56, 64 and 102 on his way to a comfortable victory.
China’s number one Ding Junhui battled past a determined Lee Walker to come through a 5-3 winner. He clinched victory with a break of 68 in the eighth frame.
Scotland’s Four-time Crucible king John Higgins was made to work for his 5-3 victory against Allan Taylor, as he battled back from a 2-0 deficit.
Higgins’ compatriots Scott Donaldson and Stephen Maguire battled it out in their last 64 clash, with world number 54 Donaldson recording a surprise 5-2 win.
Fergal O’Brien put on a fine display to emphatically defeat four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter 5-1. The Irishman composed runs of 88, 121 and 71 on his way to the win.
It was a disappointing defeat for Carter, but his solitary frame did come in spectacular fashion. He fired in a 144, the highest break of the tournament so far.
Neil Robertson downed Gerard Greene 5-2 to progress. While Iran’s Hossein Vafaei recorded an impressive 5-3 win over the recent Yushan World Open finalist David Gilbert.