Davis: Brecel is future champ
Luca Brecel has convinced Steve Davis he can be a king of the Crucible after just one session at the World Championship.
The Belgian qualifier, who won four matches to reach the main draw, became the youngest player to ever appear on snooker's most famous stage today.
At the age of 17 years and 45 days, Brecel took on world number seven Stephen Maguire.
It took four frames for him to settle down, but the teenager then served up compelling evidence of his talent with breaks of 96, 63, 116 and 62 as he fought back to trail by 6-3 overnight.
Brecel looks to have it all, as a rapid break-builder with a sound safety game, capable of playing both right-handed, which comes more naturally, and left-handed, when he looks almost as comfortable. The youngster would be a natural successor to Ronnie O'Sullivan as a crowd-pleaser if he maintains his rapid rate of development.
And six-time former champion Davis has been won over already by the boy from Dilsen-Stokkem, predicting he will have his hands on the trophy before long.
Davis told Belgian broadcasters Whataheal: "He's on the right course.
"He's 17 years old and he's at the World Championship.
"Regardless of what happens, next year he'll come back stronger, stronger, stronger, and in five years' time? World champion. That's realistic."
Brecel is surely destined to win many matches in Sheffield but to expect a fightback on Monday morning against Maguire is asking a great deal.
As the fifth 17-year-old to play at the Crucible - after Stephen Hendry in 1986, Ronnie O'Sullivan in 1993, Judd Trump in 2007 and Liu Chuang in 2008 - he would be the first to register a debut victory.
Brecel trailed 6-1 after handing Maguire a host of chances, most of which he grasped. Twice Maguire won frames on the black, as Brecel gave up frame-winning openings.
Brecel showed audacity verging on folly at times, not least when he lost position on an intended red and attempted a difficult plant, sending the ball he was looking to pot leaping off the table.
But once Brecel had the wild play out of his system, he shone.
It was a big day out for more than one Belgian too, with strong support for Brecel in the crowd, a considerable travelling press corps, and Olivier Marteel refereeing his young countryman's history-making appearance.