This match is Ronnie’s 99th at the Crucible, and this is his 28th consecutive appearance at the World Championship, which is a new record.
Most expected a close affair, but the first session of the Ronnie v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh last 32 match certainly wasn’t.
Ronnie looked composed and played well in building a very significant lead.
Here are the numbers:
There was friendly respect in the way they greeted each other at the start
But no quarters were given at the table.
To retrieve the situation, Theppy needs to win tomorrow morning’s session by 9-1 or best. That’s highly unlikely. But he could possibly come back, without pressure, and make the score much more honourable.
The battle of the speed kings in the first round of the Betfred World Championship looks to be going the way of Ronnie O’Sullivan as he took an 8-1 lead over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in their first session.
So far the contest has clocked just 82 minutes and could set a new record for the fastest match at the Crucible. That record was set last year when Shaun Murphy beat Luo Honghao 10-0 in a tie which lasted 149 minutes.
O’Sullivan averaged just 13.4 seconds a shot today and fired two centuries and five more breaks over 60. He needs just two more frames when they return at 10am on Monday to book a last 16 clash with Ding Junhui.
It’s a far cry from his performance in his first round performance at the Crucible last year, when he lost 10-8 against amateur James Cahill.
World number six O’Sullivan rattled through the first six frames with breaks of 101, 85, 115, 74, 88 and 76. Thailand’s Un-Nooh was relieved to get a frame on the board as he took the seventh with a run of 69. But Chigwell’s O’Sullivan hit back to win frame eight with 40 and 41 then added the last of the session with a 65.
O’Sullivan, age 44, has won this title five times, in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013, but hasn’t been past the quarter-finals since 2014.