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Comeback king Luca Brecel sinks Si Jiahui to reach maiden World Championship final

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Si Jiahui closes in on World Snooker Championship final as Selby edges ahead of Allen

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Selby withstands Allen fightback to set up Brecel battle in Crucible final

Brecel celebrates (Photo credit: Zac Goodwin/PA/Alamy)

Luca Brecel produced the greatest Crucible comeback of all time to deny Si Jiahui and reach his first World Snooker Championship final.

The Belgian became the first player from mainland Europe to advance to the Sheffield showpiece, after recovering from 14-5 down to stun Si 17-15 on Saturday.

Despite the hefty deficit, Brecel gave himself a chance by rallying to win the final five frames of Friday’s third session to only trail 14-10 overnight.

The three-time ranking event winner picked up where he left off, making breaks of 70 and 81 as he won each of the opening four frames of the final session to level at 14-all.

No player had ever successfully overturned a nine-frame deficit to win a match at the Crucible. However, Brecel completed a remarkable turnaround to move within a frame of victory at 16-14 in front.

For the first time in the Championship, Si was evident feeling the occasion and seeing his chances of becoming the youngest World finalist of all time rapidly slipping away. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old finally stopped the rot with a timely run of 91.

Although, it proved a false dawn, Brecel potting a brilliant final red before clearing to the blue and breathing a huge sigh of relief as he completed a quite unbelievable victory.

The Belgian told BBC Sport: “[At 14-14] I told my girlfriend that if I win, it’ll be the most emotional feeling ever and the most crazy feeling inside my body.

“I could not believe it when I got the chance at the end. I was shaking so much and to win means so much in such a tough game, and in such a big tournament.

“I could never dream of winning from 14-5. It is crazy.

“At 14-5, I was feeling great, feeling sharp. He was just playing perfect snooker, to be honest.

“The way I came back – I didn’t play scrappy frames, I wasn’t lucky to win – I just played great snooker to come back. Even if I would have lost, it would have been great to come back like that against such a great player.

“Mentally, I’ve always been quite strong, but the last couple of seasons, I’ve improved in that department.”

Meanwhile, Si was left to wonder what might have been, though the debutant acknowledged he had his work cut out due to Brecel’s determined fightback.

“In the last session, my mindset changed,” he told BBC Sport via Chinese journalist Tai Chengze.

“I really wanted to win and I felt really nervous, and couldn’t really get going.

“I am feeling disappointed, but not too disappointed. He played nearly perfect snooker in the last two sessions.”

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