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Gould Leads In Berlin

Martin GouldMartin Gould took a 5-3 lead over Luca Brecel in the first session of the 918.com German Masters final.

Both men are seeking a first ranking title and it’s Londoner Gould who stands closest to the finish line at the Tempodrom. First to nine frames tonight will claim the trophy and 80,000 Euro top prize.

World number 20 Gould is appearing in his third ranking final, having been denied the title by Shaun Murphy at the 2011 Players Championship and by John Higgins at the Australian Goldfields Open earlier this season.

The 34-year-old has won several tournaments including the 2013 Shoot-Out and a PTC event in 2012, but victory in Germany would be by far the biggest of his career.

Brecel is the first Belgian to appear in a ranking final, and only the second European from outside the UK and Ireland, the other being Malta’s Tony Drago who lost the 1997 International Open final against Stephen Hendry.

World number 36 Brecel, age 20, won the opening frame with a break of 68. Both players looked nervy in the second, with chances squandered, and it came down to the final black, with Gould potting it to a centre pocket to level.

Luca BrecelThe Englishman made an excellent 39 clearance in the third then compiled a run of 72 in the next to lead 3-1 at the interval. Brecel made a break of 51 in frame five and clinched it after a superb long plant on the third-last red. But he botched a safety shot early in the next and Gould took full advantage with an 83 to restore his two frame cushion.

At 54-4 in frame seven, Gould looked set to stretch his lead, but Brecel crucially made a brilliant 59 clearance, clenching his fist after rolling in the final black along the top cushion. However it was Gould who finished the session on top with the first century of the match, 104.

They resume at 8pm local time.