The 2019 World Snooker Championship may have only just begun, but there has already been a seismic shock in the first round. James Cahill, a player unknown to most a week ago, beat pre-tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-8 despite the odds being well against him.
The 23-year-old is an amateur player having lost his tour card in 2017, but that did not stop him pulling off what is being called the biggest shock in Crucible history.
Having led 5-4 overnight, Cahill continued to dominate in the early stages of the second session and stormed into an 8-5 lead. But the world number one managed to claw his way back into it, with breaks of 104 and 89 helping him level the score at 8-8.
Things looked to be slipping away for the youngster at that point as O'Sullivan was on course to go 9-8 up. But he missed a pink off the spot which allowed Cahill to take the lead and he showed great nerve to clinch the win in the next frame.
Prior to the match, Cahill was considered a rank outsider. He was priced as high as 22/1 to beat O'Sullivan with some bookmakers, whilst the Rocket was around 1/16 which was easy to understand given his five tournament wins this season.
In terms of the odds for Cahill to win the tournament outright, they have now been significantly cut. Prior to the tournament beginning he was 400/1 to win it, which soon drifted to 1500/1 with bet365 after he was drawn against O'Sullivan.
However, following his monumental victory he is now as low as 40/1 to lift the title with Betway.
O'Sullivan continues to struggle at the Crucible
Defeat for O'Sullivan means that his poor recent record at the World Snooker Championship continues for another year. The five-time former champion has not managed to progress beyond the quarter-final stage of the event since 2014, whilst his last title win in Sheffield was in 2013.
He is of course still two titles short of Stephen Hendry's record of seven and one behind Steve Davis' tally of six, so would have been very keen to win it this year as he looks to beat their records.
But in truth, the Rocket never really looked himself in this match. He looked jaded and tired from the start, something which he later admitted too in an interview. He said: "I felt horrendous. I was struggling to stay awake. I haven't felt great for a few weeks and I have not slept brilliantly the past couple of nights."
"You have to come here physically and mentally well. If you are not 100% it will make it harder. I tried to hang in there and get through and have a few days off. He did well. He held himself together. It's been a very successful season for me, but it wasn't meant to be."
O'Sullivan's defeat has now opened up the draw for several other players, most notably Judd Trump and Ding Junhui who were both in the same quarter as the 43-year-old. It is Neil Robertson who has now taken over as tournament favourite though, being priced at 3/1.
Updated World Snooker Championship Winner Odds:
(All odds taken from Sky Bet)
- Neil Robertson - 3/1
- Judd Trump - 7/2
- Mark Selby - 6/1
- John Higgins - 12/1
- Kyren Wilson - 12/1
- Ding Junhui - 14/1
- Mark Williams - 14/1
- Stuart Bingham - 14/1
- Mark Allen - 16/1
- Barry Hawkins - 22/1