January 2, 2024 - Littler's Dream Debut Run At Ally Pally Continues

A Week In Darts – January 2, 2024 – PDC World Darts Championship Reaches Semi-Final Stage

Just four players are left standing in the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship as the biggest tournament in darts draws to a close over the next two days. A thrilling week of action after the Christmas break has provided plenty of headlines and here’s some of the most eye-catching stories from the last seven days at Alexandra Palace…

LITTLER’S RECORD-BREAKING RUN CONTINUES

Luke Littler continued his astonishing run on his debut at the PDC World Darts Championship as he moved through to the semi-finals yesterday.

The teenage sensation posted his third 100-plus average of the tournament in a 5-1 demolition of Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan.

The reigning PDC world youth champion, who turns 17 later this month, has dropped just four sets in five matches in the tournament so far.

“It’s unbelievable,” Littler said. “I never thought I would have made the semi-finals on debut.

“Brendan played really well to beat Gezzy (Gerwyn Price) and Gary Anderson, but he was just another opponent in my way and I managed to brush him aside!

“Now I really am dreaming. I’m two games away now, so I’m definitely thinking about lifting that title.”

Littler has pocketed £100,000 on his run to the final four at Alexandra Palace, which puts him up to number 50 on the PDC Order of Merit. It means he will receive a one-year tour card onto the PDC circuit for next season.

The teen will face Rob Cross for a place in the final tonight after the 2018 PDC world champion produced an incredible comeback against Chris Dobey yesterday.

Cross battled back from 4-0 down to clinch his place in the semi-finals and made history as the first player to overturn a four-set deficit in a World Championship quarter-final.

“I really can’t put it into words,” he said. “Realistically, at 4-0 down I thought it was over, which is unusual for me.

“I’m never beaten, whoever I play in the world. I never go away. As I got closer to Chris I thought 'this is on' because I knew my best was still to come in the match.

“I will have to improve and settle quicker to win the tournament, but I believe I can win it.”

WILLIAMS STUNS VAN GERWEN IN BIG UPSET

Scott Williams pulled off one of the biggest shocks in PDC World Darts Championship history to beat Michael van Gerwen 5-3 in the quarter-finals last night.

The world number 52 was a big outsider against the tournament favourite and three-time world champion van Gerwen, who had breezed through to the last eight without dropping a set.

But Williams punished an out of sorts van Gerwen and from 3-3 in sets won six of the next eight legs to end the Dutchman’s bid for a fourth world title.

It was the third player in the world’s top 10 that Williams has knocked out in the tournament, having already got past Danny Noppert and Damon Heta on his way to a first major semi-final.

“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “Michael is the best player of our generation, so to have beaten him on this stage is just crazy.

“That wasn’t the Michael van Gerwen we’ve seen over the last three games. I could tell that he was just that little bit off tonight.

“As soon as the crowd got involved, that’s when I started playing my darts later on in the game, and I’m so happy to be through to tomorrow.”

Williams’ impressive run has seen him break into the world’s top 32 for the first time and he will now take on the third seed Luke Humphries in the semi-finals tonight.

Humphries was the pre-tournament favourite having won three of the last four majors, including the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts.

The world number three, who had survived a couple of scares in his victories over Ricardo Pietreczko and Joe Cullen, produced his best performance so far with a 103.50 average in beating Dave Chisnall 5-1 in the quarter-finals.

A win for ‘Cool Hand’ over Williams tonight will see him become the new world number one and he heads into the semi-finals once again as the favourite to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy.

“It was important for my confidence to put in a big performance and playing like that gives me the belief that I can go all the way now,” Humphries said.

“The draw has been blown wide open, and it’s a massive opportunity for all four of us now. It’s exciting!

“If I can play like I did tonight, then I stand a great chance of becoming world champion.”

SMITH’S TITLE DEFENCE ENDS IN THE LAST 16

Michael Smith’s title defence at the PDC World Darts Championship came to an end after a 4-0 defeat to Chris Dobey in the fourth round on Friday night.

Despite averaging 102, the top seed was beaten in straight sets to halt his bid for back-to-back world titles and also end his reign as world number one.

Dobey, who lost out to Rob Cross in the next round, currently leads the race for the Ballon d’Art – the trophy created by title sponsor Paddy Power for the player who hits the most 180s during the tournament.

‘Hollywood’ has thrown 43 maximums, with the four semi-finalists Scott Williams (37), Luke Humphries (36), Luke Littler (34) and Rob Cross (26) the only players who can now catch him.

 

Check out our PDC World Championship collection for the signature darts and accessories of your favourite players!

Paddy Power, Prostate Cancer UK and the PDC have joined forces to call for 180,000 men across the UK to take 30 seconds to check their risk by using Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker. 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the disease is curable if caught early.

Pictures: PDC

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