Luca Brecel is buoyed by the revamped UK Championship format after coming through his opening match on Sunday in York.
The Belgian Bullet reached the final at the Barbican Centre almost twelve months ago, just missing out on glory to rising star Zhao Xintong.
A week later, Brecel bounced back with success in the Scottish Open, and since then he has added a third ranking title to his CV by winning this season’s Championship League.
- CLICK HERE: Luca Brecel captures third ranking title
Against Lyu Haotian in his first match at the 2022 UK Championship, Brecel won the opening two frames, helped by a terrific 124 century in the second frame.
Lyu retaliated by winning the next three with sizeable contributions of his own to lead after the mid-session interval.
But Brecel dug deep and regained the initiative with breaks of 72 and 55 helping him to win four of the last five frames, eventually recording a 6-4 defeat of the Chinese competitor.
“It was a special atmosphere I think today,” Luca Brecel told Rob Walker during his post-match press conference.
“He played really well, I played some good stuff, and in the end I was faced with a very tough yellow.”
“That was a terrible shot but that went in, and it was a relief to see it go in and clear up.
“(The tournament) feels a lot different I must say. It’s really incredible how it’s all set up, and the crowd is great this year.
“It all just looks fantastic, there’s no complaints whatsoever. It would be amazing to get to the semis or the final, that would be crazy this year – there’s still a long way to go.
“They were an incredible couple of weeks last year. It was a shame to not win it, but to win the Scottish Open afterwards was probably even more pleasing.
“They are great memories. I’m playing well and I’m confident, so we’ll see what happens.”
Brecel’s next opponent in the second round will be Tom Ford, who compiled breaks of 99 and 90 in the last two frames to upset former champion John Higgins with another 6-4 scoreline.
Ford, who reached the semi-finals four years ago, is one of four qualifiers who have already made it through to the last 16.
This year’s UK Championship has a top prize worth £250,000, with a huge sum of £100,000 also going to the runner-up.
Featured photo credit: WST