When Ronnie O'Sullivan Walked Out On Stephen Hendry | 2006 UK Championship Quarter Final

Brecel Edges Thriller With Walden

Luca Brecel scored his first ever win at the Crucible, beating Ricky Walden 10-9 in a thrilling encounter on day two of the Cazoo World Championship in Sheffield.

Brecel has endured a turbulent time at the Theatre of Dreams, since he became the youngest ever player to compete at the hallowed venue back in 2012 at the age of 17.

The Belgian lost all of his first five matches in the final stages, but today proved to be a case of sixth time lucky. Across that period there were two heartbreaking 10-9 defeats to Marco Fu in 2017 and Gary Wilson in 2019.

Next up he faces either Mark Williams or Jimmy Robertson in the last 16. World number 10 Brecel will be hoping that today’s win acts as a catalyst for further success on snooker’s grandest stage.

Walden’s fortunes in the World Championship mirrored Brecel’s in the early part of his career. It took him 12 years after turning professional to win a match at the venue, but when he did in 2013, he went all the way to the semi-finals. Despite producing some great snooker this evening and in his 10-9 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh on Judgement Day, Walden bows out in the opening round this time.

Brecel established a 6-3 advantage following yesterday’s opening session, but Walden immediately closed the gap to two by taking the opener this evening.

Soon there was just a solitary frame in it, when Walden conjured a contribution of 70 to make it 6-5. Brecel stopped the rot with runs of 55 and 84 to take the next two and lead 8-5 at the mid-session interval.

When play resumed, Walden made a 69 break to reduce his arrears and he had a chance to pull within one in the 15th. However, the 40-year-old missed a pink to middle and allowed Brecel to move a frame from victory at 9-6.

With his back to the ropes, Walden played some superb stuff to stay in contention. Breaks of 73 and 91 helped him to three on the bounce to set up the decider.

Walden’s momentum was derailed when he spurned a long range red in the final frame and Brecel stepped up with a nerveless 84 to get himself over the line. The 28-year-old punched the air with joy as he exited the famous arena as a winner for the first time.

“I am so relieved. He played some good stuff to come back. He didn’t miss many long shots in the last session. I just needed one chance in the decider. I did well to hold myself together,” said three time ranking event winner Brecel.

“At 9-9 it was like a nightmare. I had flashbacks of Marco Fu. I just didn’t want to lose. I knew it was going to hurt so much. I needed this win, because if I didn’t win today maybe I would never have won a game here.

“I just wanted to celebrate in this place. I wanted to win and celebrate with the people. There were some Belgians here. I could hear them speak to me between the frames. My friends were here, so it was nice to win for them as well.”