Ronnie O’Sullivan finished the opening session of his first round match at the Betfred World Championship 5-4 down against amateur James Cahill.
World number one O’Sullivan made numerous uncharacteristic errors, while Cahill stood up to the challenge of competing against an illustrious opponent and becoming the first amateur to play at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan has won five of the ten tournaments he has contested this season, reaching seven finals, but he may need to raise his game on Tuesday to avoid one of the all-time Sheffield shocks. He must win six of the last ten frames when they resume on Tuesday at 10am.
The opening frame came down to a safety battle on the final black, resolved when Blackpool’s 23-year Cahill slotted an excellent long pot to a top corner. O’Sullivan replied with breaks of 51 and 86 to go 2-1 up then Cahill’s 71 left them all square at the interval.
Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan made a 53 in winning frame five and he compiled a run of 54 in the sixth but later missed the final brown, allowing his opponent to clear for 3-3. Crucible debutant Cahill looked set to take the lead when he made 70 in frame seven, but O’Sullivan later got the snooker he needed on the green and cleared to regain the lead.
A break of 54 helped Cahill take the eighth for 4-4, and in the last of the session he took advantage of two surprising missed pots from O’Sullivan to go ahead at 5-4.