Phil Haigh ✍️
Luca Brecel upset the odds to beat Judd Trump 10-6 in the quarter-finals of the Tour Championship on Thursday night, and the Belgian didn’t even need to practice for the event.
It was a huge win for the Bullet in his debut in the tournament, knocking in one century and seven half-centuries, never falling behind the former world champion.
Brecel was even 8-3 ahead at one stage before a Trump fightback, but the super cool 27-year-old stood firm and got over the line with a break of 73 in the last frame.
The Bullet qualified for this event thanks to a run to the UK Championship final and winning the Scottish Open in December, but his form has tailed off a bit since then, which he admitted is down to a lack of practice and feeling strained by the constant travel from Belgium.
Remarkably, he even admitted not practicing ahead of the trip to Llandudno for the Tour Championship, despite the fine display to beat the Ace.
‘Maybe I got a bit fed up with all the travelling, to be honest. I didn’t practice as much, that was my choice,’ Brecel told ITV4.
‘The last month I didn’t practice because I was busy with buying a house and all those kind of things.
‘I didn’t really practice at all for this tournament. I had some practice in Gibraltar [at the Gibraltar Open last week] obviously, but I was happy to just have a couple of hours here.
‘To have a best of 19 match makes you a bit sharper for the next game. I’m just so happy to win because this game was huge for me.’
It is fair to say that Trump was a long way from his best in the opening stages of the match. He has not been on his finest form this season but has still won two big titles, however, this was not the performance of someone who is about to win another.
He showed flashes in the second half of the contest, knocking in back-to-back centuries including a mammoth 140, but couldn’t keep it up for a lengthy period.
Brecel was pretty pleased with his own performance and is glad he is gearing up well for the World Championship in the coming weeks, where he has, remarkably, never won a match.
‘I played some good stuff, some bad stuff, but it’s just nice to get a win against such a top player,’ he said. ‘It’s good practice for the World Championships.’
Up next for the Bullet is John Higgins, in a repeat of their Scottish Open final which was held in the same venue as this week’s tournament – for reasons too long and boring to explain here.
Brecel is relishing another crack at the Wizard but is also eyeing up who he would like to face in the final, with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson meeting in the other semi.
‘Amazing,’ he said of playing Higgins. ‘I was thinking if I could win today I’d play John in the semis. The final of the Scottish Open was amazing.
‘To be here and play him again in a best of 19 is fantastic and good for my game.
‘My dream would be to play the final against Neil Robertson. I just admire him, so it would be nice to play him.’
O’Sullivan and Robertson meet on Friday, with Brecel and Higgins clashing on Saturday.
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