'Crucible Curse' Sees World Snooker Champion Brecel Crash

'Crucible curse' sees world snooker champion Brecel crash

Sheffield, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 21st Apr, 2024) World snooker champion Luca Brecel on Saturday became the latest victim of the so-called "Curse of the Crucible" when his title defence ended on the first day of the 2024 tournament.

David Gilbert, who had to qualify for the championships, reeled off the final four frames to claim a stunning 10-9 win over his Belgian opponent.

Brecel, 29, becomes the 19th first-time world champion to fail to defend his title at the Crucible Theatre venue in Sheffield.

Gilbert, a semi-finalist in 2019 but with just one win at the tournament in the intervening years, surged back level with three successive half-centuries then dispatched a nerveless 65 which proved enough to secure a famous win.

"It's been a while since I won a game in a proper arena so hopefully I can build on it," said world number 31 Gilbert.

Brecel had earlier been in charge of the first round clash, making two centuries and two more breaks over 70 as he swept to a 6-3 lead at the interval.

Brecel said he was "relieved" that his year as champion had come to an end.

"It was a good year, and now I can look forward to being a non-world champion again," said Brecel.

"I've been wanting the season to end for a long time so I'm quite relieved. I don't like the attention, when everyone says, 'oh, it's the world champion'. It's not my thing."

Judd Trump, the 2019 world champion, established a 6-3 overnight lead over Iranian qualifier Hossein Vafaei.

China's Zhang Anda, the 11th seed, trails 5-2 after the opening session against qualifier Jak Jones, in a low-quality match that was hauled off two frames early due to slow play.