Belgium's Luca Brecel produced an incredible comeback from 14-5 behind to beat China's Si Jiahui ©Getty Images

Belgium's Luca Brecel produced a stunning comeback from nine frames behind against Chinese sensation Si Jiahui to reach his maiden World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible in Sheffield where he will meet four-time winner Mark Selby of England.

No player had ever overturned a nine-frame deficit at the World Championship until Brecel's sensational turnaround.

Si is ranked 80th in the world and was on debut at the World Championship, but his scalps included England's Shaun Murphy and Scotland's Anthony McGill.

At 20, he was the youngest semi-finalist since English legend Ronnie O'Sullivan in 1996, and could scarcely have made a more impressive start to the semi-final with four century breaks including a 132 startling the Crucible crowd and putting him into what looked an unassailable 14-5 lead.

Brecel is ranked 10th and knocked out England's seven-time and defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals, having never previously won a match in five appearances at the World Championship.

He forced himself back into contention with a strong finish to last night's third session, winning five consecutive frames to make it 14-10, although Si was visibly frustrated after missing a routine green in the last of those which would have had him on course for a 15-9 overnight lead.

England's four-time winner Mark Selby, right, played in a hard-fought semi-final against Northern Ireland's Mark Allen ©Getty Images
England's four-time winner Mark Selby, right, played in a hard-fought semi-final against Northern Ireland's Mark Allen ©Getty Images

A further six consecutive victories remarkably edged Brecel into a 16-14 advantage, although Si replied with a 91 break to move within one.

Brecel held his nerve to take the next frame and seal a 17-15 win in what will be remembered as a Crucible classic, with both players opting for a fearless and aggressive approach to the match.

The other semi-final in contrast for the most part proved a cagey affair between Selby and Northern Ireland's Mark Allen, the player of the season on the World Snooker Tour with three ranking titles including the UK Championship, a Triple Crown event.

Allen was appearing in the last four of the World Championship for the first time since 2009.

The second session of the semi-final featured just five frames instead of the regulation eight due to time constraints, with both players prioritising tactical play and which featured two re-racks.
Selby clawed his way back from 6-3 behind to lead 7-6 overnight, and preserved his one-frame advantage at 11-10 after the third session.

The 2021 winner dominated the final session to move into a 16-10 lead before Allen mounted a spirited fightback.

Using all his grit and determination, Allen won five frames in a row to put huge pressure on Selby who was struggling to convert his chances.

The intensity was increasing but Selby dug deep to find a response, making breaks of 64 and 28 to seal a 17-15 victory.

Selby has won four of his five World Snooker Championship finals, with his only defeat coming back in 2007 against Scotland's John Higgins.

The World Snooker Championship final is set to be played tomorrow and on Monday (May 1), with 18 frames required for victory.