World Snooker Championship 2012: Maguire beats Brecel

Luca Brecel

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP

Venue:
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Date:
21 April - 7 May
Start times:
Sessions at 1000, 1430 & 1900 BST
Coverage:
Live coverage on BBC TV, HD Channel, Red Button and online

Teenager Luca Brecel's record-breaking World Championship debut ended in a 10-5 defeat by Scotsman Stephen Maguire.

The Belgian, the youngest competitor ever at The Crucible aged 17 years and 45 days, resumed 6-3 down on Monday.

He made a promising start when he rattled in a break of 86 to reduce his deficit to two frames, but Maguire reasserted himself to move 9-4 clear.

Breaks of 101 and 94 put him on the verge of victory before Brecel took the 14th frame, but Maguire prevailed.

The world number seven will play either fellow Scotsman Graeme Dott, the 2006 champion, or Joe Perry in the second round.

Brecel thus followed in the footsteps of four other 17-year-olds - Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and Liu Chuang - who all experienced defeat on their first appearance at The Crucible.

His tactical naivety was exposed at times by Maguire, who was in turn frustrated by his own inconsistency.

Having taken the second frame of the morning to make it 7-4, he scattered the reds with a wild safety shot in the next, only for Brecel to let him back in.

A composed clearance of 101 ensued, and Maguire - who only managed a highest break of 54 in the opening session - followed it up with a 94 to put himself within one frame of victory at the mid-session interval.

Brecel, who had impressed with breaks of 96, 63, 116 and 62 in their opening session on Sunday, extended the match by taking a tight 14th frame before Maguire closed out a patchy victory.

The Scot was always in command after racing into an early 4-0 lead, and led 6-1 before the youngster from Dilsen-Stokkem ended the first session strongly by taking the final two frames.

"He's a potting machine isn't he?" said an admiring Maguire after his victory. "He's one of the fastest players I've seen and he's fearless.

"He plays the same shots as Judd [Trump] does right now. Judd's obviously starting to get a bit of a safety game together, which Luca will eventually get. But in all honesty you don't want him getting a safety game just yet, you want him scaring the life out of people."

In theory, Brecel - ranked 87 in the world - needed to reach the Crucible semi-finals to keep his place on the professional tour, after a season which only flickered to life for the teenager this month by winning four matches at the World Championship qualifiers.

Maguire believes the youngster should be given a wildcard to ensure his presence at more tournaments next season.

"I just hope that World Snooker don't make a mistake and let him fall off because it would be a travesty for the game," the Scot added.

"Giving him a wildcard is a no-brainer really. "To be on the tour next year with all the experience he's gained this year, the matches that he won to get here, he's got everything going for him and he looks like a nice kid as well.

"Good luck to him and I hope I don't draw him in the World Championship next year. There won't be a 17-year-old in the world who can play the way he does now. So far everything is going right. I wouldn't be surprised if he won it [the title] soon."

Brecel was disappointed with his performance but believes becoming world champion in future is "definitely possible."

"I know I can play so much better," Brecel said. "But I want to be back next year and the future will be a different story.

"I found the crowd really enthusiastic and really enjoyed it. The Crucible was a little bit special."

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