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O’Sullivan hails “unbelievable” Brecel after crashing out at The Crucible

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Luca Brecel admits “partying” and being “drunk as hell” ahead of victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan and Brecel face off again (Photo by Zac Goodwin/Alamy/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan would love to see “unbelievable” Luca Brecel win the World Snooker Championship following his Crucible exit to the Belgian.

The Rocket’s quest for a record-breaking eighth title ended after an uncharacteristically poor display saw him remarkably lose seven successive frames against the inspired Bullet, who booked his place in the semi-finals by sealing a 13-10 victory.

O’Sullivan led 10-6 heading into Wednesday’s concluding session, requiring just three more frames to reach a 14th World Championship semi-final.

But Brecel had other ideas. After clearing to the pink to take the opener, he pounced on his opponent’s mistakes with contributions of 112, 64 and 72 to level the contest at the mid-session interval.

The trend continued upon its resumption, the Rocket not firing at all and the Bullet capitalising with further runs of 61, 78 and 63 to cap a stunning victory.

Nevertheless, O’Sullivan had warm words for his opponent, who he is confident can now go all the way at the Crucible.

“He played unbelievable. He’s such a good player, I love watching him play,” he told BBC Sport. “He goes through the ball so well, it’s incredible – the whip he gets on the white, the top spin, the thud he hits the ball with.

“He’s such a dynamic player, full of talent – probably the most talented snooker player I’ve ever seen. I’d love to see him go and win it just for snooker, because that’s how snooker should be played.

“If I’d have put up a bit more resistance, maybe he wouldn’t have played as well. If I’d have at least put some balls together, but I didn’t put up any resistance.

“I’m not sure he’ll be allowed that much movement if another top player plays well, because they’ll stop the momentum. I just wasn’t playing well enough to have an impact on the game.

“I was just pinching frames and hanging on. There’s only so much hanging on you can do at the Crucible. It catches up with you at some point. Eventually, someone plays well against you and puts you away, and that’s what he did.”

Earlier in the day, Mark Allen was the first player to book his place in the semi-finals after defeating Jak Jones by the same scoreline.

Locked at 8-8, the players shared the first four frames of the final session. However, Allen’s experience and tactical nous proved decisive as he won the last three frames to advance to the one-table setup for the first time since 2009.

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