Saturday 25 May 2019

Ken Doherty gives his verdict as Ronnie O'Sullivan suffers a shock World Championship defeat against an amateur rival

Ronnie O'Sullivan (left) and James Cahill during day four of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Nigel French/PA Wire
Ronnie O'Sullivan (left) and James Cahill during day four of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Nigel French/PA Wire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former world champion Ken Doherty hailed James Cahill's victory over world No.1 Ronnie O'Sullivan was the biggest upset in the history of the sport, as the amateur produced a stunning 10-8 win at the Crucible.

An erratic O'Sullivan looked tired and distracted as he missed too many shots in an all-out attacking display, with amateur player Cahill holding his nerve to pull off a shock win that ends the hopes of this year's red-hot favourite to win the world title.

"This is probably the biggest upset of all-time," declared Ireland's former world champion Doherty told the BBC. "The fact that James Cahill is still an amateur, the first amateur to play at The Crucible, and he has beaten probably the greatest player to ever play the game.

"He looked so calm and played with a smile on his face. He didn't look like he was nervous and loved every minute of it. This is a huge shock, just huge.

"The way Ronnie played in the first session, he played very causal and didn't look like he wanted to be there. He didn't fancy the job, maybe he didn't feel well, but hats off to James Cahill for getting over the line.

"There was big pressure out there with all the hype around this game, the fact that he was the first amateur to play here, and he held it all together. It was fantastic."

A delighted Cahill summed up the enormity of his achievement, as he backed up his won against then world No.1 Mark Selby earlier this season by defeating O'Sullivan.

"I could barely stand up at the end," Cahill BBC Sport. "I am not really sure what to say. I scored a good pressure 70 to go 6-5 up and after that I felt like he was the one under pressure. He didn't want to lose to me.

"I have always believed in myself and that I can beat anyone on my day. I want to show what I can do now."

Cahill lost his professional status in 2017, but has won back his two-year tour card from next season and will now face Stephen Maguire in the second round at The Crucible.

O'Sullivan admitted he was feeling under the weather as he bowed out in the first round for the first time since 2003.

"My limbs are feeling very heavy. I have no energy," he said. "You come here and try to do your best but if you're physically not 100 per cent it's just one of those things.

"I tried to hang in there and get through this match and have a few days off before my next match.

"There are two ways of looking at it. One is, he has come here and played brilliantly. But I also left him some easy chances."

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