O'Sullivan fears for Si's career if Brecel completes Crucible comeback

Ronnie O’Sullivan believes Si Jiahui would be left with a ‘massive scar’ and questions how his career would recover if he loses his World Championship semi-final to Luca Brecel.

The Belgian was the favourite going into the surprise semi, but Si took control and opened up a huge lead at 14-5 ahead in a race to 17.

However, Brecel fought back on Friday and won the last five frames of the day, closing the gap to trail 14-10 and still very much in contention.

It would be a monumental comeback from the Belgian Bullet, and one that O’Sullivan thinks could damage Si for years to come if he doesn’t hold it off.

‘I don’t know how he’s going to feel, that young boy,’ O’Sullivan said on Eurosport. ‘We don’t know nothing about him, so it’s really hard to predict. He’s come from nowhere. Is the pressure getting to him? We’ll find out.

‘If he pulls away and does what he has been doing, then okay, he’s put that to bed, and it wasn’t nerves. But it could be the ultimate of ultimate collapses.

‘He could lose this match 17-15, and where does he go from there in his career? That is one massive scar. Massive.

‘Like I said, I don’t know. I’ve never seen the guy play. Can’t comment. He’s in the semi-finals of the World Championship, and he’s played some exceptional snooker. I don’t know.

‘It’s the Crucible Theatre. It can get to you. He fancies it, Luca. He’s punching the air there. He obviously feels like he’s sensed a weakness in Si. He feels like there’s a weakness there somewhere for him to go like that. He’s thinking, “I can still win this.”‘

Si looked immense in taking a big lead over Brecel, winning eight out of nine frames to go to 14-5 ahead, with four centuries in the match.

Brecel dug in impressively, though, responding with a century of his own to stop the rot, then making three half-centuries on the spin to end Friday four frames behind.

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