The Belgian ace picked up a case identical to his own at the airport when he arrived in China, and it was only when he got to his hotel room that he discovered the error. Luckily inside the suitcase there was a pair of black shoes which fit, but he had to borrow an assortment of clothes from fellow pro Michael White and World Snooker’s Tournament Director Martin Clark in order to be ready for his match.
Unperturbed, world number 14 Brecel whitewashed Stevens in 84 minutes with a top break of 57.
“I landed today at 4pm and I took the wrong bag off the belt, it was exactly the same as mine. It even had the same password,” said 22-year-old Brecel, who is chasing his second ranking title having won the China Championship in August. “I didn’t realise until I got to the hotel about 6.15pm and the match was at 7.30pm. Luckily I could borrow some clothes and still play.
“I also lost my cue recently in Daqing so I am playing with a new cue and I am happy with it. I played ok today and capitalised on my chances. I feel good about my game, I have won a lot of matches recently but I’m still fresh.”
World Champion Mark Selby was pushed all the way by Chris Wakelin before winning 5-4. Selby led 3-0 with breaks of 74, 64 and 51 but Wakelin recovered to 4-4. The decider lasted 37 minutes and Selby eventually took it 63-24.
Selby, targeting back-to-back ranking titles having won the International Championship, said: “I’m just pleased to get over the line because it was a tough game and Chris played well. If I had lost 5-4 I couldn’t have had any complaints. The decider was scrappy and I just had to pick off what I could.”
World number one Selby has clocked up plenty of air miles travelling to tournaments in recent weeks and joked: “The fatigue is there, I feel like Judith Chalmers with about five passports. Hopefully I’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
John Higgins saw off Ian Preece 5-1 with top breaks of 87, 76, 69 and 61, and there was also a comfortable win for Judd Trump as he beat Alfie Burden 5-0, making a 119 in frame four.
Joe Perry impressed in a 5-1 win over Matthew Selt, making 137 and 111, while China’s Liang Wenbo beat John Astley 5-2 with a top run of 108
Stephen Maguire came from 4-1 down to beat Rory McLeod 5-4 with top breaks of 107 and 118 while Marco Fu beat Hossein Vafaei 5-0 with a top run of 80.
Alan McManus came from 4-3 down to edge out Dominic Dale 5-4 with runs of 75 and 50 in the last two frames.