Luca Brecel came from 4-1 down to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Evergrande China Championship.
O’Sullivan saw his hopes of a 29th career ranking title quashed as he couldn’t get past the winning line in Guangzhou. Instead, Belgium’s talented 22-year-old Brecel goes through to his third ranking event semi-final and first since the 2016 German Masters when he ended up losing to Martin Gould in the the final.
Breaks of 85 and 55 helped O’Sullivan go 4-1 up before Brecel stormed back with runs of 110 and 103 to close to 4-3. He got the better of a scrappy eighth frame to level the tie. Both players had chances in the decider and it came down to the colours, Brecel potting brown, blue and pink to score one of his career best wins.
“It was unbelievable,” said a thrilled Brecel. “Against most players you think you can come back from 4-1 down, but against Ronnie you don’t fancy it because he is so good. When I made a century I started believing again. I kept really cool and made some good breaks. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals. I have felt so good this week, as if it can be my week. I am practising consistently with no days off so maybe that’s the difference.”
O’Sullivan said: “Hopefully the fans enjoyed the match, there was a lot of excitement there. As long as the fans go home happy, we should all be happy.”
Both Li and Brecel are seeking their first ranking title – and one of them will be in Tuesday’s final
In the semis on Monday, Brecel will face China’s Li Hang, who continued his career-best run with a 5-3 win over Mark Williams. Two time World Champion Williams compiled runs of 58 and 56 in taking a 3-0 lead before 26-year-old Li, playing in his first ranking quarter-final, won five frames consecutive frames with top runs of 66 and 103.
“We both got a bit distracted by the noise from the other table,” said home favourite Li. “But I didn’t give up even when I was 3-0 down. In the second half of the match Mark wasn’t cueing as well as the first half and I saw my chance. I wasn’t thinking about the result because if I had, it would have affected my performance.
“I knew Luca was 4-1 down at one point so he must have played really well to come back at Ronnie. Tomorrow will not be easy but hopefully I can settle down and enjoy it.”