Former winner Rob Cross made a confident start in his bid for a second Cazoo World Darts Championship crown on Friday as the second round drew to a close at Alexandra Palace.
Day Nine of the £2.5 million event saw the remaining eight second round ties take place, and it was a clean sweep for the seeded stars, with 2018 winner Cross producing the goods on his return to the capital.
The sixth seed – who famously defeated Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor to lift The Sid Waddell Trophy on debut – reaffirmed his credentials with an impressive 3-1 victory over enigmatic debutant Scott Williams.
Cross overcame his occasional practice partner in a high-quality affair, averaging 99 and reeling off three straight sets to come through a tie which saw each set go to a last-leg decider.
Cross – the runner-up at November’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals – maintained his superb Minehead form to book a post-Christmas date with last year’s quarter-finalist Mervyn King.
“This place will always be special to me – this is the holy grail,” reflected Cross, who also landed seven 180s and converted 58% of his attempts at double to cap off a classy display.
“I think I dealt with the big moments well, but I probably put that down to experience. I feel good. I feel like I’m getting better and I’m enjoying it again.”
The Cazoo World Darts Championship resumes on Tuesday December 27 as the third round gets underway, with reigning champion Peter Wright continuing his title defence against Kim Huybrechts.
Elsewhere, world number one Gerwyn Price faces five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in a titanic tussle, with two-time semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall up against World Youth Champion Josh Rock in a tasty afternoon session.
The Cazoo World Darts Championship is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).
2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship
Friday December 23
4x Second Round
Brendan Dolan 3-1 Jimmy Hendriks (3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-0)
Chris Dobey 3-0 Martijn Kleermaker (3-2, 3-1, 3-2)
Ross Smith 3-1 Darius Labanauskas (3-2, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2)
Rob Cross 3-1 Scott Williams (2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)
4x Second Round
Martin Schindler 3-1 Martin Lukeman (3-2, 2-3, 3-1, 3-1)
Danny Noppert 3-1 David Cameron (3-1, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1)
Jonny Clayton 3-0 Danny van Trijp (3-1, 3-1, 3-1)
Joe Cullen 3-1 Ricky Evans (3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1)
Tuesday December 27
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Third Round
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Krzysztof Ratajski
Nathan Aspinall v Josh Rock
Jonny Clayton v Brendan Dolan
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x Third Round
Jim Williams v Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
Images: Kieran Cleeves/PDC
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