Luca Brecel survives slight scare to win UK Championship opener

One of this season’s most impressive players on the baize has secured his place in the second round of the UK Championship.

Luca Brecel. Picture: BBC Sport

China Championship winner Luca Brecel came through a hard-fought first round match against Iran’s Soheil Vahedi – coming back from behind to record a 6-4 win.

His place in the next round looked very insecure when he trailed his opponent at one stage 4-3 but Brecel rallied late on taking the next three frames to seal the match.

Brecel has been one of the standout players of the season since winning his first major ranking tournament in China. This season alone, in ranking events, he has won prize money to the tune of more than £220,000.

The Belgian will next face either Sam Baird or Indian star Aditya Mehta in the last 64 stage.

Yesterday (Tuesday) saw a major shock when China’s number one star Ding Junhui crashed out losing to world number 130 Leo Fernandez who sensationally came back from 5-1 down to complete the biggest win of his career.

But there was no such problem for Northern Ireland Open finalist Yan Bingtao. The seventeen-year-old continued his good run of form by easing into the second round with a 6-1 win over Zhang Yong.

There were also convincing wins for the likes of John Higgins and Kyren Wilson but recent Northern Ireland Open semi-finalist Elliot Slessor suffered an agonising final frame defeat to Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

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