Luca Brecel continued his recent run of form with a close victory in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Open on Friday in Llandudno.
The Belgian Bullet was a losing finalist in last week’s prestigious UK Championship but has bounced back in impressive fashion to reach the last four of the latest ranking event.
Brecel fought back from 4-3 behind to deny Matthew Selt in a last-eight decider, having previously also beaten Joe Perry and Pang Junxu in close encounters at the Venue Cymru.
The 26 year-old, provisionally second on the rankings based on this season’s performances, will face Anthony McGill on Saturday as he chases back-to-back final appearances.
“At 4-3 down, I was thinking it wasn’t going to be my day,” a relieved Brecel said during his post-match press conference on Friday night.
“He had a bit of the run of the ball, but he played well as well – he’s such a good safety player and he keeps fighting until the end. I played a good last frame actually under pressure, so I’m happy with that.”
“It’s just a bit of confidence. I started the season off well, and when you get some ranking points from winning a couple of games you just feel more relaxed and more confident.
“I got to the quarters of the English (Open) and the final of the UK, so when I came here I just expected to win my first game and second game. Now I’m in the semis, it’s crazy.
“I know what I can do, I’ve had some trouble with my cues and stuff like that. Now I just feel like I’m in a good place at the moment, and if you’re in a good place the chance of playing well is bigger.
“Every game I play now I feel like I can win. It’s not always going to happen, but if you’re in that mindset everything is just easier.
“It’s also easier to win the matches if you’re clearing up, because your mind just keeps saying ‘we’ve been here before’, so it’s a lot easier to win those games.”
McGill, meanwhile, almost suffered a major collapse from 4-0 in front against Stephen Maguire – losing three frames on the spin but finally falling over the line for a 5-3 victory over his fellow Scotsman.
An all-Scottish final for the Scottish Open, in Wales, remains a possibility with John Higgins continuing to fight strongly on the other side of the draw.
The Wizard of Wishaw reeled off five frames on the spin to overturn a 3-0 deficit against David Gilbert, with another grandstand encounter against old foe Ronnie O’Sullivan to come in the last four.
O’Sullivan, who celebrated his 46th birthday last Sunday, prevailed in a deciding-frame clash for the third successive round, denying Li Hang in a 5-4 thriller.
Defeat for the Chinese competitor means the 32 players who will qualify for next week’s World Grand Prix are now confirmed, although the order of the draw is still to be determined.
Live coverage of the Scottish Open continues on Eurosport, Quest, and Matchroom.Live (selected territories).
Click here to view the draw (times: CET)
Featured photo credit: WST