World Darts Championship: '˜Rejuvenated' Rob Cross firmly focused on retaining title

A '˜rejuvenated' Rob Cross has his sights firmly fixed on retaining the William Hill World Darts Championship title.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 11:29 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:49 am
Rob Cross at the oche during his third round victory over Cristo Reyes last night. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The defending champion from St Leonards surged through to the last 16 with a four sets to nil victory over Cristo Reyes at Alexandra Palace, London, last night (Sunday).

In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Cross said: “I feel rejuvenated. I believe it’s going to be good. I love it here, I love the set-play format and I want to put my name on it (the trophy) again.”

“One game at a time,” continued Cross. “I’ve got to play well, I’ll focus on myself and make sure I’m right. As long as I make sure I’m right and I can do it under pressure, we can reclaim this. Everyone wants to get past Christmas, and come back and try to win it.”

Cross recorded a 101.72 average, hit five 180s, landed two hundred-plus checkouts and was successful with 55 percent of his attempts at a double against 31st-ranked Reyes.

“I’m starting to feel like my old self,” he went on. “I wasn’t at my best tonight, but I was clinical in places and I felt it was there under pressure - and that’s where it needs to be.”

Cross, nicknamed Voltage, lost to Reyes at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead last month, but has so far produced two strong displays in the sport’s blue riband event.

“After the Players Championship I had 13 days to two weeks to get myself ready for Jeffrey (De Zwaan, who Cross beat 3-1 in a thrilling second round tie),” Cross added. “The way I’m playing at the minute I feel brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

The 28-year-old enjoyed some quality family time during the 10 days between his second and third round matches, and is looking forward to some more over Christmas, albeit mixed with some daily practice, before returning to the stage at the end of the week.

Cross is the 7/1 joint third favourite for the title with the tournament sponsors behind world number one Michael van Gerwen (5/4) and Gary Anderson (3/1).