Ronnie O’Sullivan is into a comfortable 6-2 lead over Luca Brecel after their World Championship quarter-final opening session, despite the Belgian making a thrilling start to the contest.
On his first trip to the last eight at the Crucible, the Bullet made the perfect start, knocking in a break of 93 in the opening frame in a matter of minutes.
The Rocket responded with two half-centuries to level up but Brecel looked to be playing beautifully and made a 68 to go back in front.
Things went quite horribly wrong from there on in, though, and the defending champion won the next five frames as Brecel’s early form evaporated.
The world number one made a top break of 128 and three more half-centuries as he built an early lead, but one that it is already difficult to see the Belgian recovering from in a race to 13 frames.
Brecel ended up having a great chance to win the seventh frame after a remarkable turn of events, which saw the underdog fight on needing two snookers and come very close to winning the frame.
He got the first of the snookers and then O’Sullivan managed to foul on the black with his waistcoat, but Brecel missed the pink on the verge of stealing the frame, allowing the Rocket to take it himself.
Commenting on the BBC, Stephen Hendry said of the failure to clear up from Brecel: ‘How can you not clear up from there? The quarter-final of the World Championship.
‘For a player as good as Luca. It’s almost like the game is too easy to him. You’ve got to think. It does my head in.’
The pair return at 7pm for the second of their three sessions and Brecel needing to win it to keep realistic chances of victory alive.
On the other table on Tuesday morning Crucible debutant Jak Jones continued to impress as he held Mark Allen to 4-4 after their opening session.
Break of 94, 78 and 71 saw the Weslham impress again in the balls, although Allen top-scored with a huge 137 in the third frame, having scored just six points in the opening two.
Allen and Jones also return at 7pm, with Anthony McGill vs Si Jiahui and Mark Selby vs John Higgins beginning at 2.30pm.
MORE : Anthony McGill feels superb Crucible record is thanks to the building itself
MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan backs Luca Brecel’s decision not to practice for World Championship
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.