Best shots from afternoon session as Brecel takes five frame leadVenue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 15 April-1 MayCoverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport appLuca Brecel produced an incredible display of potting to open up a 15-10 lead over Mark Selby and move within three frames of a first world title.
The Belgian exhibited his full repertoire of shots in sublime breaks of 113, 101 and 141 as he reeled off the first four frames on Monday.
Four-time champion Selby, who trailed 9-8 overnight, briefly rallied with consecutive half-centuries.
But Brecel replied with a run of 119 and took the afternoon’s final frame.
The best-of-35 encounter concludes this evening at 19:00 BST.
Mark Selby’s 147 break in 147 secondsThe manner in which Selby concluded Sunday evening’s second session – a fightback lit up a magnificent 147 maximum break – raised significant questions about how Brecel might respond to seeing his lead whittled down to one frame, having enjoyed a 6-2 advantage after the opening session.
However, in a contest billed as test of Brecel’s mental endurance as much as his undoubted skill, few inside the Crucible Theatre could have been prepared for the 28-year-old’s blistering start.
Brecel fired in doubles, a succession of stunning long pots and seemingly cleared balls at will as he rattled through the first four frames in under an hour.
Only Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis and John Higgins have played in more Crucible finals than Selby, who has displayed a self-assuredness throughout this contest.
And when the interval arrived there appeared to be a switch in pace and momentum back towards the Englishman.
The 39-year-old built a break of 63 and then capitalised on lapse from Brecel, who overran on a positional shot on 41, to take the following frame.
But the fightback ended there, Brecel knocking in a wonderful long red from Selby’s break-off shot in the penultimate frame and going on to record a dazzling fourth century of the session.
And when Selby rattled the jaws of the corner pocket with a rest shot on the red with only a 39-point lead, Brecel was able to secure a valuable five-frame advantage heading into Monday night’s concluding session.
Brecel is aiming to become the first player from mainland Europe to win the world title and only the fourth non-British winner, alongside Canada’s Cliff Thorburn (1980), Ireland’s Ken Doherty (1997) and Australia’s Neil Robertson (2010).
Match schedule, results & TV coverage timesBrecel’s most ‘impressive’ run of frames – analysis The 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy on BBC Two
It was phenomenal. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time from Luca – we’ve all known how talented he is and how good he is. I think that session of snooker today from Luca in the most impressive batch of frames he’s ever produced.
It was more impressive than the 11 on the spin [against Si] or the seven on the spin to beat O’Sullivan – because of last night, to go through what he did and lose his lead, to only be one ahead. To then stand up and win the session 6-2, that’s the most impressive I’ve ever seen from Luca Brecel.
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry on BBC Two
It was an incredible break to win that final frame with some of the shots [he played]. It’s a huge task now for Mark Selby. We always say you’re going to need help from your opponent if you’re going to come back from this kind of deficit.
But it’s a huge few hours for Luca and the people around him, just to keep in the moment and not get ahead of themselves – there’s a long way to go.
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