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

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Mark Selby v Mark Allen live stream | World Snooker Championship Semi-Final preview

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

Si Jiahui is three frames away from reaching the World Snooker Championship final after establishing a commanding 14-10 lead over Luca Brecel.

The 20-year-old moved to the brink of breaking Stephen Hendry’s record and becoming the youngest player ever to appear in the Crucible showpiece after a dominant day’s play in Sheffield.

Although, he will have been disappointed not to wrap up victory with a session to spare, having roared into a 14-5 advantage while hitting two centuries and a further four breaks over 70.

Indeed Brecel, who reeled off seven successive frames from 10-6 down against Ronnie O’Sullivan, won the last five frames to keep his faint hopes alive.

The Belgian trailed 5-3 overnight and bizarrely demonstrated frustration in the opening frame of the second session, flicking the cue-ball off the table after conceding, though he immediately responded with 65 to stay in touch at 6-4.

But Si – aiming to become only the third qualifier to lift the trophy – went into overdrive with breaks of 122, 89, 58, 55 and 71 as he won five of the next six frames for an 11-5 lead at the morning session’s conclusion.

The Chinese ace picked up from where he left off in the evening with a run of 90, before pouncing on Brecel going in-off on two occasions with 132 and 97 to move 14-5 to the good.

Not since O’Sullivan thrashed Barry Hawkins 17-7 in 2014 had a Crucible semi-final been wrapped up with a session to spare.

Brecel ensured that would not happen here as his opponent appeared to be feeling the occasion for the first time.

The Belgian stopped the rot with a wonderful break of 108, before closing the gap to 14-9 with runs of 60 and 66.

The final frame of the session was one of twists and turns. A stunning opening plant helped Si into a 27-0 lead before Brecel embarked on a run of 53 until overcutting the final red.

But the 20-year-old could not capitalise, decelerating through the green and demonstrating frustration for the first time this fortnight, as his opponent cut the deficit to four frames overnight.

Meanwhile, Mark Selby leads Mark Allen 7-6 in the other semi-final, having reeled off four successive frames from 6-3 down.

The Pistol – appearing in the last four at the Crucible for the first time in 14 years – increased his 5-3 overnight lead by taking the opening frame of the second session on the pink.

However, he squandered the opportunity to pull further clear in the next, where a run of 60 moved him 36 points ahead with 35 remaining. Indeed, Selby doggedly recovered from needing a snooker to snatch the frame on the black.

The four-time champion followed that up with 95 and controlled frame 12 to level. Another lengthy frame – and what proved to be the last of the session – also went the Jester’s way before the session’s premature conclusion.


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World Snooker Championship 2023 Day 14 Scores

Friday April 28


Luca Brecel 10-14 Si Jiahui
Mark Allen 6-7 Mark Selby

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