O'Sullivan suffers shock loss to amateur at world championship

LONDON • Sometimes, the best ingredient to winning a match is simply having sufficient sleep.

That was exactly what five-time snooker world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan lacked yesterday afternoon, when he suffered one of the all-time shocks in the sport after being beaten by James Cahill - the first amateur to play at the World Championship - at the Crucible Theatre.

World No. 1 O'Sullivan, who has 36 ranking titles, lost 10-8 having trailed 5-4 after the opening session of their first-round match in Sheffield.

The 43-year-old, who had not lost in the first round of the World Championship since 2003, looked out of sorts but rallied upon his return to the table and tied the match at 8-8 after producing a break of 89.

But Cahill, the 23-year-old from Blackpool whose highest world ranking is 76th, kept his nerve to win the final two frames.

O'Sullivan has previously complained of suffering from insomnia and did look tired as he sat in his chair between frames.

Nevertheless, he can have few excuses for such a jaw-dropping loss.


Speaking about his insomnia, and the impact it had on him, he said: "My limbs feel very heavy, I'm drained, I have no energy, I'm struggling to stay awake. I feel absolutely horrendous.

"You have to come here feeling good. Mentally, I was up for it - I've had a good season and I tried to hang in there. But he has come here and played brilliantly."

Cahill, who will face Scotland's Stephen Maguire in the second round, said he always had faith that he could step up on the big stage.

"I've always believed in myself and I've always believed I can beat anyone," said Cahill, who turned professional in 2013 before losing his tour card.

"I've shown that today."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'O'Sullivan suffers shock loss to amateur at world c'ship'. Print Edition | Subscribe