Luca Brecel is set to become the youngest player ever to compete at the Crucible after beating Mark King 10-8 in the final qualifying round of the World Championship.


One of the most talented young players to emerge in recent years, Brecel only turned 17 last month, and will beat the record set by Stephen Hendry when he played at the Crucible in 1986 age 17 years and three months.


Brecel, from Dilsen-Stokkem, will also be the first Belgian to play at snooker's Theatre of Dreams. He is playing his first season on the pro tour and for most of the campaign did little to suggest that he could break through so quickly in his career.


But he has played fantastic snooker this week, beating Ian McCulloch 10-2, Barry Pinches 10-3, Michael Holt 10-9 and now experienced cueman King to earn a place in the draw for the last 32 (Monday 1.30pm live on Talksport radio). His success will also give a boost to the rapid growth of snooker in Belgium. Brecel's father Carlo revealed that clubs all over the country were showing his match on big screens via the live streaming today.


Brecel, who gave notice of his talent in 2009 when he became the youngest ever winner of the European Under-19 Championship at the age of 14, clearly has a superb temperament and seemed to thrive on the pressure of a close match.


"The bigger the occasion the better I handle it. I don't mind who I play, I'm not afraid of anyone," he said today in his post match interview, translated from Flemish by his coach Chris Henry.


"It feels fantastic. I knew if I qualified I would be the youngest ever. No one can criticise me now. Since I started playing snooker I wanted to be World Champion. I went to the Crucible last year to watch. It was unbelievable, I loved the atmosphere," said Brecel, who practises snooker for three hours per day and has had a private tutor at home since he was 14 in order to give him time to play the game he loves.


"I want to thank my parents (Carlo and Mirella) for what they have done for me, as well as my coach Chris for the help he has given me on the mental side. Everyone in Belgium is following me, they will be going crazy now."


Brecel trailed King 5-4 after the first session but won the first three frames today with breaks of 68, 70 and 66. The next two frames were shared, then King took the next two with 50 and 61 for 8-8.


Frame 17 proved crucial as Brecel, who has shown a sound tactical game this week as well as superb break-building, won a safety battle on the colours and cleared from yellow to pink. And he sealed a historic victory in the next with a break of 57.


Crucible tickets - selected sessions available


Crucible hospitality - the only way to see the final