Web Stories Friday, March 1

Luca Brecel squeezed through to the second round of the Welsh Open, as he edged past Jiang Jun with a 4-3 victory.

The Belgian has been off-colour since winning the World Championship for the first time last year, with runs to the third round of the European Masters and English Open the furthest he has got in any ranking event this season.

And he once again struggled to find his game against the world No. 105, who is in his first season on the professional tour.

Both players had chances in the opening frame, which quickly became scrappy after a number of missed pots, including some alarmingly straightforward ones for Brecel.

That opened the door for Jun, but he could not make his opponent pay, with the world No. 4 eventually prevailing, despite a highest visit of just 21.

The second frame continued in a similar fashion, with Brecel looking well set to take it comfortably until failing to pot an easy red when on 27, and Jun missing a blue and a pink of similar difficulty.

The Chinese player was still in pole position to take the frame though as he closed in on the winning line until sending a deft yellow into the jaws of the pocket, allowing Brecel the chance to clean up and take a 2-0 lead.

Despite the deficit, Jun arguably looked the more settled of the two players, and a composed 101 made it 2-1.

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The alarm bells were ringing for Brecel at this point, even more so after he incredibly missed a straight black off its spot by a remarkable margin in the fourth frame, opening the door for his opponent to level, although he needed several chances to get over the line.

The Belgian showed signs of life at the start of the next frame, with a break of 30 his best visit of the match so far, only to run out of luck when he went into the pack off the blue and was forced to play safe when no pot was available.

It would not prevent him from regaining his lead though, as Jun missed a red with the rest, allowing Brecel to come back to the table and register an excellent 80 and move to within one frame of the finish line.

The 18-year-old ensured that the match would go the distance though with another emphatic 50+ visit, but 3-3 was as close as he would get to what would have been the biggest scalp of his young career.

Brecel raced to victory in the end with a sublime 93 securing a narrow victory, finally finding some form in the nick of time.


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