Luca Brecel aiming to turn ‘not the best season’ around at the business end

Luca Brecel is rediscovering some form as the Crucible comes into view (Picture: Getty Images)

Luca Brecel knows it has ‘not been the best season’ for him as world champion, but feels he can still turn it into a good campaign at the final few events.

The 28-year-old stunned the sport by downing the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Mark Williams en route to a first world title this year.

Few doubted his talent but there were question marks over his World Championship pedigree having never won a match at the Crucible before 2023.

He answered those questions in spectacular fashion by becoming world champion, but it has been a disappointing season since then, reaching the Shanghai Masters final back in September but managing just one quarter-final run since then.

The Belgian Bullet has looked to be regaining some form of late and beat Ali Carter in his opening contest at the World Masters of Snooker on Tuesday, setting up a semi-final with Mark Allen on Wednesday.

Brecel is just two wins away from this title and has the World Open, World Mixed Doubles and World Championship to come, so fancies his chances of still finishing the season on a high.

‘It’s not been the best season, but I’ve still got a couple of chances to turn it around,’ said the world champ. ‘Obviously being world champion is fantastic, just to be able to play in these tournaments is a fantastic opportunity.

‘To have your name on the world trophy is really special, it’s going to be there forever, that’s fantastic and hopefully I can win a couple more.’

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2023 - Day Seventeen

Brecel won one of the most memorable World Championships ever last year (Picture: Getty Images)

Brecel made the quarters of the Welsh Open last month and looked good again against Carter, showing that things are starting to come together for him in time for his Crucible defence.

‘Yeah very happy,’ he said on the 4-1 victory over the Captain in Riyadh. ‘This game was all about getting used to the table. It was quite difficult in the beginning. I managed to win so I’m very happy.

‘I was a bit nervous today, to be honest. It doesn’t really happen that often but today I felt it a bit in the beginning, so I was just trying to get into the game and I managed to do that. I settled quite quickly, in a new location it’s difficult to settle down, so I’m just really happy to still be in the tournament.’

Allen came through a gruelling, dramatic battle with Mark Selby to reach the semis and Brecel knows he is in for a tough test against a man who has lifted three titles this season.

‘He’s a fantastic player, he’s won a couple of tournaments and he’s in the form of his life, a couple of good seasons behind him, so it’s going to be a tough game,’ said the Bullet of the Pistol.

Brecel and Allen meet in the first semi-final in Saudi Arabia at 2pm UK time, followed by Judd Trump against Ronnie O’Sullivan and the winners playing the final at 7pm.

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