A new star in the world of snooker was born on Tuesday when Luca Brecel claimed his first world ranking title of his career – winning one of the calendar’s biggest prizes.
The Belgian Bullet, as he is nicknamed, beat former world champion Shaun Murphy 10-5 in the final of the China Championship to lift his first title and collected a cheque worth £150,000 – making it his payday of his career..
Brecel becomes the first player from continental Europe to win a ranking title and makes his major breakthrough, having been touted for success since his early teens.
The 22-year-old came close to winning a ranking event last year when he reached the final of the German Masters before losing out to Martin Gould.
But despite a slow start which saw Brecel trail 3-1 at one stage, the Belgian fought back tremendously against an out-of-sorts Murphy to win the match by five clear frames. Earlier in the tournament he defeated five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-final stages having been 4-1 down.
The stunning and memorable victory has now placed Brecel into world snooker’s top 16 for the first time in his career – now ranked 15th in the world.
He said: “It’s amazing, a dream come true, especially to beat a player like Shaun in the final of such a big event. Hopefully there will be many more to come.
“It means so much to me to win a tournament, especially beating a lot of good players and coming from 4-1 down to beat Ronnie. This is a big milestone because it puts me in the top 16 and gets me into other tournaments such as the Champion of Champions.”