Defending champion Luca Brecel crashes out in World Snooker opener. GETTY IMAGES

The 'Crucible Curse' struck again as Belgium's Brecel was beaten 10-9 by David Gilbert on the opening day of the 2024 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

12 months ago, Luca Brecel made history by becoming the first player from continental Europe to win snooker's biggest prize. On Saturday, he was brought back down to earth with a bump when he lost a final frame decider to English veteran David Gilbert. 

Brecel was leading 6-3 and 9-6 but the 42-year-old, ranked 31st in the world, missed great opportunities to win the match after leading in the 16th and 18th frames. 

Gilbert missed the match ball when leading 69-0 in the final frame, but Brecel was unable to take advantage and continued the record of no first-time Crucible champion retaining the title.