Humphries dethrones World Champion Cross as Joyce stuns Wade to reach Quarter-Finals

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 29 Dec 2018
Humphries reacts after a sensational scalp (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Luke Humphries produced an inspired comeback from two sets down to knock reigning champion Rob Cross out of the World Championship in the Last 16, while Ryan Joyce dumped out Jame Wade in a last-set decider.

Humphries, 23, continued his remarkable breakthrough campaign by reeling off four consecutive sets from 2-0 down to end Cross' reign at Alexandra Palace.

The Newbury ace, winner of this year's Development Tour, averaged 99.7 and hit seven 180s in a sensational display to book a Quarter-Final date with Michael Smith.

"I'm absolutely over the moon to knock out the World Champion on a stage he's never lost on before," said Humphries.

"When I went 2-0 down I said to myself 'if you want to be World Champion you've got to dig deep' and that's what I did, I didn't give up because you've got to fight back in those situations.
 
"Two years ago I might've given up there but I believe in my own ability and I'm hugely proud of myself for that performance tonight.

"I take a lot of inspiration from Rob and his win last year has given players like me the belief that I can win this, and if I keep showing resilience like this then I can go all the way."
 
Cross made a commanding start as he looked to maintain his unbeaten record on the sport's greatest stage, establishing a two-set lead after Humphries had missed four darts to level at one-all.

Humphries, however, regrouped, taking the third set 3-1 with a 115 finish, before a trio of 15-dart legs saw the youngster level the match.
 
The fifth set also went the way of Humphries as he took the lead for the first time in the match, before recovering from 2-0 down in the sixth set by reeling off three straight legs to complete the upset.

Cross saw his hopes of becoming the sixth multiple World Champion in PDC history ended, and admitted: "Obviously I'm disappointed. 

"I feel like I didn't play tonight, I didn't score. I felt a bit fatigued but fair play to Luke, he played great. 

"This is going to hurt but I'll bounce back next year, I have the monkey off my back."
 
Meanwhile, Smith cruised through to the Last Eight for the second time in his career with a comfortable 4-1 win over Ryan Searle.
 
Smith took the opening set 3-1, and, after Searle went 2-0 up in the second, the Premier League finalist came back to double his lead with a 130 checkout.
 
Back-to-back 11-dart legs helped Smith on the way to a 3-0 lead, but after he missed two match darts in the fourth, Searle stepped in to take out double ten and reduce the deficit to 3-1.
 
Searle took the opening two legs of set five, but a dogged Smith came back once again with three successive legs, sealing the win with a 106 checkout.

"I started slowly, I took my chances but I thought I nearly blew it in the fourth set," said Smith. 

"I showed a bit of bottle and class to get that last set for the match.

"I want that trophy to be the centrepiece at my wedding!"

Ryan Joyce and Nathan Aspinall both continued their fairy-tale runs in their first Alexandra Palace appearances with superb victories to reach the Quarter-Finals.
 
Joyce, who won his Tour Card in January, claimed the scalp of a seed for the third successive match as he overcame Wade 4-3, following up his earlier defeats of Anastasia Dobromyslova, Simon Whitlock and Alan Norris.
 
Joyce landed a 138 finish to take the opening set, before Wade took the next two sets to lead 2-1.
 
The fourth and fifth sets both went on throw to give Wade a 3-2 lead, but after he missed five darts for the match, Joyce stepped in to take the contest to a tense deciding set.
 
After Wade took the opening leg, Joyce responded with a 110 checkout followed by a break of throw to go within a leg of victory, and at the fifth attempt the Geordie found the winning double to set up a clash with Michael van Gerwen.
 
The opening game of the day saw Aspinall - another player who claimed his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January - come back from 2-0 down to defeat Devon Petersen 4-3 in a roller-coaster affair.
 
African Qualifier Petersen raced into a two-set lead, but after missing three darts to make it 3-0, Aspinall turned the match on its head to take a 3-2 lead.
 
Petersen responded to take the tie to a deciding set which went to a tie-break at 2-2, before Aspinall held throw and then found a 13-dart break to book his place in the last eight.
 
Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson will meet Dave Chisnall on Saturday after the St Helens thrower made it back-to-back whitewash wins by thrashing Jamie Lewis.
 
Last year's semi-finalist Lewis took a two-leg lead in the opening set, but Chisnall fought back to lead and followed that up by winning the second 3-1.
 
Set three went to a deciding leg, and after Lewis missed three darts to halve the deficit, Chisnall found the double to win the set at the ninth attempt, before sealing victory in the next to make it 11 consecutive sets in the tournament.
 
Brendan Dolan reached the quarter-finals for the first time courtesy of a comfortable 4-1 victory over Benito van de Pas.
 
The Northern Irishman won nine of the opening 11 legs as he raced into a three-set lead, before Van de Pas registered his first set.
 
However, it was to be Dolan's day as the former World Grand Prix finalist edged the fifth set 3-2 to claim a resounding win.
 
World number one Van Gerwen is now the 4/6 odds-on favourite with sponsors William Hill as he aims for his third World Championship title, with Anderson the 7/2 second favourite.
 
Smith is priced at 9/2 to pick up his maiden World Championship win, with Humphries 22/1, Chisnall 25/1, Aspinall 33/1, Dolan 50/1 and Joyce 100/1 to claim the title on New Year's Day.
 

World Darts Championship 2018/19 Results


Friday December 28

Last 16

Afternoon Session
Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Devon Petersen
Benito van de Pas 1-4 Brendan Dolan
Ryan Joyce 4-3 James Wade
 
Evening Session
Ryan Searle 1-4 Michael Smith
Jamie Lewis 0-4 Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross 2-4 Luke Humphries



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Humphries dethrones World Champion Cross as Joyce stuns Wade to reach Quarter-Finals

Luke Humphries produced an inspired comeback from two sets down to knock reigning champion Rob Cross out of the World Championship in the Last 16, while Ryan Joyce dumped out Jame Wade in a last-set decider.

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