A date with destiny awaits as Luca Brecel and Si Jiahui collide in their first World Snooker Championship Semi-Final at The Crucible.
The two prodigious talents step out into the hallowed one-table setup at the sport’s spiritual home for the first time looking to keep their world title hopes firmly alive.
Both have defied the odds to reach the penultimate stage of the competition, defeating a clutch of former World Champions along the way, and are now presented with a dream opportunity to reach the sport’s show-piece occasion on Sunday.
Brecel came in to the event having failed to win a match here in five previous appearances, but the Belgian star has emphatically banished his Crucible demons with a series of sensational displays.
The 28-year-old has had to do it the hard way, edging out Ricky Walden 10-9 before narrowly overcoming three-time World Champion Mark Williams 13-11 in the Last 16.
He then staged a remarkable fightback from 10-6 down by reeling off seven consecutive frames on Wednesday to dethrone defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan for arguably the biggest result of his career to date.
Winner of three ranking titles, including this season’s Championship League, the number nine seed admitted his preparation for the tournament has been far from orthodox but has served him well so far.
Si is enjoying a dream debut campaign after winning three qualifying matches to clinch his first Crucible appearance.
The 20-year-old sensation saw off Florian Nüßle, Tom Ford and Jordan Brown a fortnight ago to reach the main event and showed no sign of nerves on the big occasion by defeating 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy in a deciding frame in Round One.
The Chinese star then safely saw off Welsh Open champion Robert Milkins 13-7, before holding his nerve in a gripping last-frame decider late on Wednesday night to edge out Anthony McGill 13-12.
Si came in to the event as world number 80 but is already guaranteed to rocket up to at least 36th in the rankings after a single season as a Tour Card holder.
He had previously never progressed beyond the Quarter-Finals of a ranking event, but victory over McGill saw him become the youngest World Championship semi-finalist since Ronnie O’Sullivan in 1996 and the first debutant to reach the Semi-Finals since Andy Hicks in 1995.
This will be the first time Brecel and Si have met in professional competition and promises to be an enthralling contest.
The match gets under way from 1pm BST on Thursday April 27 for a maximum of eight frames, resuming from 10am and 7pm on Friday, before being played to a finish from 2.30pm on Saturday over the best of 33.
Either four-time World Champion Mark Selby or reigning UK Champion Mark Allen will await the winner in the final.
How to watch Brecel v Si live stream
18+ | Funded account required | Geo restrictions may apply | Please Gamble Responsibly
2) Register an account, place a £10 first bet and get £30 in Free Bets* (18+ only, T&Cs apply)
3) Once registered, go to the sports homepage and select ‘Snooker’ from the left-hand menu
4) Select the play icon next to the match in progress and the stream window will appear
*18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. BeGambleAware.org. *or currency equivalent.
The match is also available to watch live at Skybet. To watch, simply:
2) Register an account (18+)
3) Get £30 in Free Bets when you place ANY first bet*
4) Go to the Snooker menu and select ‘Watch Live’ next to the match in progress
*New customers only. First single or E/W bet only. 5p minimum stake. 3x £10 Bet Tokens. Free Bet Stakes not included in returns. Free Bets exclude virtuals and are non-withdrawable. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org