The World Snooker Championship first round is still throwing up surprises as the best snooker from around the world battle to make the next round of the sports showpiece event.
World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan finished his first day one frame behind his opponent, first time Crucible competitor James Cahill.
Cahill is the only amateur to have made it to the Crucible. He made a perfect start against the world number one by winning his first frame at the Crucible.
As expected Cahill fell behind O’Sullivan but came back with a confident show and eventually won frame nine to take a one frame end of session lead.
Cahill needs five more frames for victory when the match resumes but knows O’Sullivan is not easy to beat, even with a frame advantage.
Six-time world champion Steve Davis said:
“It was probably the worst session of snooker Ronnie O’Sullivan has played this season.
“I just think he is playing too quickly. It’s as if he wanted to get out of there. It didn’t look like he was enjoying being there.
“James Cahill’s attitude has been brilliant. He has played with rhythm and confidence.
Three-time world champion Mark Selby survived a scare in his first round match to beat world number 67, Zhao Xintong 10-7 and book his place in the second round.
Selby initially fell behind 5-1 behind the but worked hard to pull back a few frames and ended his morning session 5-3.
The world number two finally settled into his rhythm and went on to win five of the next seven frames.
Four-time world champion John Higgins held off the championships oldest player, Mark Davis, 10-7 to progress.
Scotland’s Higgins was in top form and beat a strong Davis in a gripping match. Runner-up in last year’s championship, Higgins is making his 25th consecutive Crucible appearance. He called on all his experience to hold off the 46-year-old Davis, who oddly holds the record for head to head wins with Higgins. But despite the history between the players and a strong first round performance, Davis could not resist former world champion Higgins.
“I was really happy with the first session and to be 6-3 in front. I felt really focused.
“But the pressure began to hit a little bit and Mark came back really strongly and I was thinking it would get away from me. I think I was lucky to win the game because Mark let me off the hook a few times.
“I was missing some unforgivable balls but I made a good break after the interval and then a good break to go 9-7 so I am pleased with that.”
In the other evening match, world number 16 David Gilbert led Joe Perry 6-3 at the end of their first session. David Gilbert qualified automatically as a top 16 player while Joe Perry came through the qualifying rounds. However, Perry is currently ranked 18 in the world, only 2 places behind Gilbert. With so little between these players this match could go either way when they resume their first round match on Tuesday afternoon.
The final set of first round matches begin on Tuesday with two former world champions going head to head. 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham will face 2006 World Snooker Championship Graeme Dott in what is sure to be another gripping first round match.
Much fancied Judd Trump is making his 10th Crucible appearance and will take on Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who is currently rated as the fastest player on the World Snooker Tour.
Trump, who is one of the pre-tournament favorites, beat Ronnie O’Sullivan to claim this year’s Masters title with 10-4 demolition of the world number one. But Trump’s form has been inconsistent.
“I am trying to be a lot more careful, and to not miss easy balls.”
The final first round match begins on Tuesday evening when world number 6, Mark Allen takes on China’s Zhou Yuelong, a match that Allen will hope to complete quickly to progress towards a first World Championship title.
The 2019 World Snooker Championship is taking place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and will run from Saturday, 20 April, to Monday, 6 May.