Luca Brecel (born 8 March 1995) is a Belgian professional snooker player. He won the European Under-19 title at the age of 14 and is the youngest player to play at the Crucible after qualifying for the 2012 World Championship aged 17. His first ranking event final came at the 2016 German Masters which he lost to Martin Gould. The following year, he became the first player from mainland Europe to win a ranking event, defeating Shaun Murphy in the final of the 2017 China Championship.
|Born||8 March 1995|
|Nickname||Belgian Bullet, Snooker Brecel|
|Highest ranking||11 (October, December 2017, March 2018)|
|25 (as of 12 August 2019)|
2018 Championship League
In April 2009, he became the youngest European under-19 champion at 14 years of age.
In May 2009, in the Grand Final of the World Series of Snooker in Portugal, he beat Jimmy White 4–3 and former World Champion Ken Doherty 5–3 on his way to the quarter-finals, where he lost 4–5 to Graeme Dott. In August 2009, he beat Joe Perry, the then world number 12, at the Paul Hunter Classic. On 8 January 2010, Brecel defeated former world champion Stephen Hendry 4–1 at an exhibition game in Bruges, Belgium.
Brecel was one of the eight players in the first ever Power Snooker event, held on 30 October 2010 at the indigO2, next to the then reigning world champion Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Shaun Murphy, Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Brecel was defeated by O'Sullivan in the first round.
Brecel became a professional snooker player in June 2011, beating Anthony Hamilton in his first official professional match. By August 2011, he was ranked 87 on the Snooker world rankings, as second Belgian after Bjorn Haneveer, then ranked 65. In January 2012, he made his first 147 break in an amateur tournament.
Brecel played in all 12 of the minor-ranking Players Tour Championship events throughout the season, with his best finishes coming in Event 2, Event 8 and Event 9, where he reached the last 32 each time. He finished 69th on the Order of Merit.
Brecel became the youngest ever player to qualify for the World Snooker Championship in 2012, after defeating Ian McCulloch, Barry Pinches, Michael Holt and Mark King. In doing so he broke the record of Stephen Hendry from 1986, as he was almost 2 months older than Brecel. He also became one of five players to qualify for the tournament under 18 years of age and played in his first ranking event main draw, but lost 5–10 in the first round against Stephen Maguire.
Although finishing the season outside the top 64 who automatically retain their places on the snooker tour, Brecel received a two-year wildcard, along with Tony Drago. World Snooker chairman, Barry Hearn said the decision was made as it would be a "loss to the sport" if Brecel did not feature. Brecel was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award at the World Snooker Annual Award Ceremony.
In July 2012, Brecel made his second 147 break in an amateur tournament. In qualifying for the first ranking event of the season, the 2012 Wuxi Classic, Brecel reached the third qualifying round but ultimately lost 5–4 to Jamie Burnett. He made three century breaks.
Next up for Brecel was the first PTC event of the year. The teenager had a good run, beating former world champions Graeme Dott and Ken Doherty on his way to the last 16 where he met Judd Trump who beat him 4–1. Brecel made two centuries in the tournament. Brecel was beaten in the first round of the second PTC event of the year, 4–2, by Matthew Selt. He fared a little better in the first European Tour event of the season reaching the last 64 but was beaten 4–3 by Rory McLeod. The Belgian was also knocked out in the last 64 of the third PTC of the season, 4–1, by Chinese player Xiao Guodong. He made one century in the tournament. Brecel lost in the last 64 of both the Gdynia Open (where he made a century) and the Antwerp Open to Mark Joyce and Stuart Bingham respectively. The Belgian was eliminated in the first round of the fourth PTC event of the season, losing 4–3 to Jimmy Robertson. Soon after this defeat Brecel traveled to Sofia to play in the Bulgarian Open. He won his first round match but was beaten 4–0 by Mark Davis in the second round. He finished 51st on the PTC Order of Merit.
Brecel failed to qualify for the 2012 Shanghai Masters, losing 5–1 in the second round to Andy Hicks. He also failed to qualify for the fourth ranking event of the season, the 2012 International Championship, losing 6–3 to Anthony Hamilton in the third round. Brecel led Barry Pinches 3–0 in qualifying for the 2013 German Masters but was eventually beaten 5–4.
Brecel qualified for the 2012 UK Championship after coming through four rounds of qualifying. He beat Scott Donaldson 6–5, Peter Lines 6–4, Liu Chuang 6–3 and former World Champion Peter Ebdon 6–1, making 5 century breaks in the process, to reach the main draw of a ranking event for the second time. The Belgian won his first ever match in a ranking event by beating Ricky Walden 6–5 in the first round. He followed this up with a 6–4 win over Mark King (notably coming from 0–3 behind) to become the first Belgian player to reach the quarter-finals of a ranking event. He was eventually defeated 6–5 in the quarter-final by Shaun Murphy, having missed a pink which would have given him an opportunity to win on the final black in each of the last two frames.
Following this success, surprisingly, Brecel failed to win any other qualifying match for the rest of the season and therefore could not repeat last year's run to The Crucible, as he was beaten 6–10 by amateur Fraser Patrick in the first round of World Championship Qualifying. He ended his second year as a professional ranked world number 72.
The 2013/2014 season started badly for Brecel as he lost in the qualifying rounds for the first five ranking events. He received automatic entry into the first round of the UK Championship as all 128 players on the tour began the event at the venue and he beat Mike Dunn 6–4, but then lost 6–5 to Stephen Maguire, despite having held a 5–2 lead. Brecel qualified for the next ranking event, the German Masters, by defeating James Wattana 5–3, but was eliminated by Joe Perry 5–2 in the opening round. Brecel failed to win a match in either of his next two ranking events as Jimmy Robertson defeated him 4–2 in the last 128 of the Welsh Open whilst Ryan Day won a deciding frame in the first round of the World Open to win 5–4. His best result of the year came at the penultimate ranking event of the season, the China Open where he reached the second round thanks to the withdrawal of Mark Allen. Brecel then comfortably beat Dominic Dale 5–1 in the last 16, but missed out on his second career quarter-final as he lost 5–2 against Graeme Dott. In the minor-ranking European Tour events played throughout the season, Brecel advanced to the quarter-finals of the Ruhr Open by seeing off Stuart Bingham 4–1, but was then edged out by Robbie Williams in a deciding frame by 73 points to 72 in a 4–3 defeat. He finished 39th on the European Order of Merit and inside the top 64 in the world ranking for the first time, at number 63.
The first ranking event Brecel qualified for in the 2014/2015 season was the Australian Goldfields Open where he was defeated by Matthew Stevens 5–3 in the opening round. He was whitewashed 6–0 by Mark Allen in the second round of the UK Championship. At the Welsh Open he defeated world number 15 Robert Milkins 4–0 in the opening round, Tian Pengfei 4–1 and Oliver Brown 4–0. In the Pengfei match he made a break of 140, the highest in his professional career and ultimately the highest in the tournament. Furthermore, he would go on to beat reigning world champion and world number one Mark Selby in the fourth round after a deciding frame (4–3), having been 2–0 and 3–2 down, to reach the quarter-finals. There, Brecel met Ricky Walden, another top 16 player (ranked number 9 at the time). Brecel lost the first three frames, but he followed this up by winning the next five on the trot in order to reach the first ranking semi-final ever of his professional career. Four-time world champion John Higgins beat him 6–4. A pair of quarter-final exits in the European Tour events during the year saw Brecel finish 16th on the Order of Merit to make his debut in the Grand Final, where he lost 4–0 to Judd Trump in the opening round. His good season saw him climb 19 places in the rankings to end it at 44th in the world.
After failing to qualify for the Australian Goldfields Open and exiting both the Shanghai Masters and International Championship in the first round, Brecel then beat Hossein Vafaei 6–1, Anthony McGill 6–4 and Robin Hull 6–2 to reach the fourth round of the UK Championship. He subsequently lost to Matthew Selt 6–4 after being 3–1 up in the interval. After beating Zhao Xintong 5–2 and Kurt Maflin 5–3 he reached his first quarter-final of the season soon afterwards at the German Masters, where he recovered from 4–2 down to defeat Mark Joyce 5–4, closing the match with a 102 break. Brecel then won a scrappy game 6–3 in the semi-finals against Kyren Wilson to become only the second European player from outside the UK and Ireland, after Tony Drago from Malta almost 20 years ago (when he was defeated by Stephen Hendry at the same stage of the 1997 International Open), to play in a ranking event final and the first one from Belgium. He would lose it 9–5 to Martin Gould, but targeted a top 20 world ranking before the end of the season. He lost in the final of the Snooker Shoot-Out to Robin Hull. Brecel was beaten in the fourth round of the Welsh Open 4–2 by Ding Junhui and, after losing in the first round of three successive ranking events and failing to qualify for the World Championship, he finished the year at 30th in the world, still the highest he has ended a campaign.
Brecel could not get past the first round of any of the first seven ranking events he entered in the 2016/2017 season, before he restricted Shaun Murphy to eight points as he defeated him 4–0 in the opening round of the Northern Ireland Open. He then beat Jamie Cope 4–2, before losing 4–1 to Michael White. At the UK Championship, Brecel whitewashed Aditya Mehta 6–0 and then overcame Sam Craigie 6–5, Yu Delu 6–1 and Stephen Maguire 6–3 to play Murphy in the quarter-finals of the event for the second time. It was nowhere near as close as their previous meeting however, as Murphy easily won 6–1. Brecel qualified for his second World Championship and raced in to a 7–1 lead over Marco Fu in the first round. He also held an 8–4, 9-8 advantage, but would go on to lose 10–9.
Brecel won his first ranking title, the China Championship in August 2017. He defeated Jimmy Robertson, Marco Fu, and Mike Dunn, before defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–4 in the quarter-finals after being 1–4 down. He then defeated Li Hang 6–5 in the semi-finals, before defeating Shaun Murphy 10–5 in the final. His victory propelled him into the top 16 of the rankings for the first time.
A month later, at the World Open, Brecel confirmed his status as a top 16 player with a semi-final finish, winning three consecutive rounds in a decider, before succumbing to eventual winner Ding Junhui in a 6–4 defeat. He repeated this feat at the Champion of Champions invitational tournament. Brecel whitewashed Judd Trump 4–0 in the first round and went on to beat world champion Mark Selby 6–4 later that day. In the semi-final, he suffered a 6–4 defeat by the hand of Shaun Murphy, who went on to win the tournament.
Performance and rankings timelineEdit
|Ranking[nb 1]||[nb 2]||[nb 3]||[nb 4]||72||63||44||30||27||15||15|
|Riga Masters[nb 5]||Tournament Not Held||MR||1R||2R||1R||1R|
|International Championship||Not Held||LQ||LQ||LQ||1R||1R||2R||LQ||2R|
|China Championship||Tournament Not Held||NR||W||1R|
|European Masters||Tournament Not Held||1R||3R||3R|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||1R||2R||2R|
|World Open[nb 6]||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||Not Held||1R||SF||2R|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||3R||WD||4R|
|Scottish Open||Not Held||MR||Not Held||1R||A||3R|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NR||1R||DNQ||1R||DNQ|
|Players Championship[nb 7]||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||1R||1R||DNQ||1R||DNQ|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||3R||1R||1R|
|Tour Championship||Tournament Not Held||DNQ|
|Paul Hunter Classic||Minor-Ranking Event||Ranking Event|
|Shanghai Masters||Ranking Event||1R||A|
|Champion of Champions||Not Held||A||A||A||A||SF||1R|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship||A||NH||A||A||A||A||QF||WD||SF|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Wuxi Classic||NR||LQ||LQ||LQ||Tournament Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open||NH||LQ||LQ||LQ||1R||LQ||Not Held|
|Paul Hunter Classic||Minor-Ranking Event||1R||2R||3R||NR|
|Indian Open||Not Held||LQ||2R||NH||WD||1R||3R||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||1R||Ranking Event|
|Romanian Masters||Tournament Not Held||1R||Not Held|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
|PA / Pro-am Event||means an event is/was a pro-am event.|
|VF / Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a variant format event.|
- It shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- He was an amateur.
- New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
- Players qualified through European nomination started the season without ranking points.
- The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
- The event was called the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and the Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
Ranking finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)Edit
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2016||German Masters||Martin Gould||5–9|
|Winner||1.||2017||China Championship||Shaun Murphy||10–5|
Non-ranking finals: 1 (1 runner-up)Edit
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||2016||Snooker Shoot-Out||Robin Hull||0–1|
Pro-am finals: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Winner||1.||2013||Dutch Open||Bjorn Haneveer||5–3|
|Winner||2.||2014||3 Kings Open||Tony Drago||5–4|
|Runner-up||1.||2015||3 Kings Open||Tony Drago||4–5|
|Winner||3.||2018||Golden Q Cup||Michael Georgiou||5–1|
- Belgian Under 16 Championship – 2007, 2008, 2009
- Belgium Ranking Events
- St.Martinus Gent – 2007
- Happy Snooker Hasselt – 2009
- Zele – 2010
- Peer – 2011
- Malta Under 16 Open – 2007
- Flemish Under 16 Championship – 2008
- Belgian Teams Championship – 2008
- Belgian Open Under 21 – 2008
- Belgian Under 21 Championship – 2008, 2009
- European Under-19 Championship – 2009
- International Open under 21 – 2009
- Belgian Senior Championship – 2010, 2013, 2014
- European Snooker Championship – 2010
- "Brecel mené 6–3 par Maguire". RTBF. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "WORLD RANKINGS After 2017 888sport European Masters". World Snooker. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- "WORLD RANKINGS After 2017 Betway UK Championship". World Snooker. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "WORLD RANKINGS After 2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship". World Snooker. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
- "Right on cue: Luca Brecel". Eurosport. 10 April 2009. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
- "World Series: Belgian teen into last eight". Eurosport. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.[dead link]
- "Murphy retains Paul Hunter title". Eurosport. 17 August 2009. Archived from the original on 27 December 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- Vanhee, Nico (11 January 2010). "14-jarige klopt wereldkampioen" (in Dutch). De Standaard. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- "Luca Brecel est devenu champion de Belgique de snooker à 15 ans" (in French). RTL. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Ronnie O'Sullivan praises quick-fire Power Snooker". BBC Sport. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- "Luca Brecel (snooker), Espoir de l'année" (in French). RTBF. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- "Snooker – Luca Brecel reçoit une invitation pour le Main Tour" (in French). Belga. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- "Luca Brecel maakt in Peer eerste officiële 147-break". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 23 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Order of Merit". WWW Snooker. 8 January 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "Luca Brecel heeft eerste grote scalp als profspeler beet". De Morgen. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Brilliant Brecel will be youngest ever at World Championship after qualifying win over King". Daily Mail. London. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "Snooker: Brecel awarded wild card". ESPN Star. 24 April 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- "Rocket Named Player Of Year". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 11 May 2012. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Luca Brecel maakt maximumbreak van 147". Het Belang Van Limburg (in Dutch). 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "2012 Wuxi Classic qualifying results". Worldsnooker.com. 9 June 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "PTC Event 1 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "PTC Event 2 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "ET Event 1 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "PTC Event 3 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "PTC Event 4 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "ET Event 4 Results". Worldsnooker.com. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Order of Merit 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "2012 Shanghai Masters Results". Worldsnooker.com. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "2012 International Championship Results". Worldsnooker.com. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "2013 German Masters qualifying results". Worldsnooker.com. 1 December 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Veteran Davis and teen Brecel reach UK Championships". Eurosport.com. 24 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "BBC UK Championship Results". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- Skilbeck, John (6 December 2012). "Young Brecel's not so pretty on the pink as Murphy ends Belgian's fairytale run". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Betfair World Championship Qualifiers". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Official World Snooker Ranking List For The 2013/2014 Season" (PDF). World Snooker. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Luca Brecel 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "UK Championship: Stephen Maguire rallies to deny Luca Brecel; Judd Trump hits form". Sky Sports. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "Ebdon Beats Trump In Beijing". World Snooker. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "Robbie Williams v Luca Brecel". Love Snooker. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "European Order of Merit 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "World Snooker Rankings After the 2014 World Championship" (PDF). World Snooker. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- "Luca Brecel 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- "Mark Allen sweeps aside Belgian teenager Luca Brecel in Coral UK Championship". Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Welsh Open: Mark Selby knocked out by Luca Brecel". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Welsh Open: Luca Brecel and Ben Woollaston reach semi-finals in Cardiff". Sky Sports. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "John Higgins hoping for final flourish as he targets Welsh Open victory". Daily Record. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "European Order of Merit 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "World Rankings After 2015 World Championship". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Luca Brecel 2015/2016". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "UK Championship: Matt Selt better for Ronnie O'Sullivan loss". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Gould Stuns Trump in Berlin". World Snooker. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Brecel Sets Up Gould Final". World Snooker. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Gould Wins Maiden Ranking Crown". World Snooker. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Robin Hull hails Hexagon crowd after beating Luca Brecel to win Snooker Shootout". Reading Chronicle. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- "Rankings 2015/2016". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- "Rocket and Whirlwind Set Up Showdown". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Luca Brecel 2016/2017". Snooker.org. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Mark Selby beats John Higgins in UK Championship quarter-finals". Eurosport. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "Yan Secures Crucible Debut". World Snooker. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- "Fu Fightback Topples Brecel". World Snooker. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Luca Brecel wins first ranking event with victory over Shaun Murphy". Eurosport. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "2013 Dutch Open". Cuetracker. 29 August 2017.
- "3 Kings Open". 29 August 2017.