Standing as he does just a few days short of his 20th birthday,talk that Luca Brecel was gong to one of those promising kids who just couldn't hack it in the big time was perhaps premature,but the fact was despite a Crucible appearance and a UK quarter final in 2012 he really has struggled in recent times.That however seems to have changed this week with some fine performances setting up todays clash with the world champion Mark Selby.
Selby himself has struggled for a large part of the season,but with his recent German Masters victory he seemed to be getting things back on track and he started the stronger here leading 2-0 lead.and then 3-2 with the aid of a couple of centuries. Brecel was not for lying down though and a fine 101 of his own leveled it up at 3-3.Into the decider then and it was the young Belgian who made the most of his chances to claim a 4-3 win, the biggest scalp of his career to date.
To watch this young man in full flight is really something to behold and if he puts in the hard work and gains a bit more tablecraft,the sky is really the limit.
For though he will very much be concentrating on this event and next up for him is a Ricky Walden who beat Stuart Bingham 4-2.
The defeat of Selby was not the biggest shock though as Neil Robertson crashed out 4-2 at the hands of Gary Wilson.That result looked unlikely when Robertson lead 2-1,but Wilson leveled it up at 2-2,before a bizarre fifth went to Wilson when Robertson missed three times trying to negotiate a trick safety when he had a red in clear view.The end came in the next as Wilson held his nerve to gain by far the biggest win of his professional career with a 4-2 win.
He will now play Ben Woollaston who beat Ali Carter,also by a scoreline of 4-2
Elsewhere at the other end of the career scale it was also a good day for a couple of the games veterans with wins for Mark Williams & John Higgins.
Home favourite Williams kept alive his hopes of a third Welsh Open title with a fine 4-1 victory over Judd Trump.This match never really reached the heights we might have expected,but Williams wont mind that,as he did his hopes of automatic Crucible qualification no harm at all here.
He will now face Marco Fu who denied the home fans an all Welsh quarter final beating Matthew Stevens 4-2.
John Higgins has also been looking over his shoulder this season as the possibility of him having to qualify for the Crucible loomed large ,but he too will now be breathing a little easier following his run here and he reached the quarter finals with a 4-2 win over Michael Georgiou
Next up for him is an all Scottish tussle with Stephen Maguire who eased past Alan McManus 4-0.
Quarter Final line up in full
Marco Fu v Mark Williams
Ben Woollaston v Gary Wilson
John Higgins v Stephen Maguire
Ricky Walden v Luca Brecel