Kim Huybrechts made major waves at the PDC World Darts Championship with a 3-0 win over Rob Cross.
A day on from struggling to a 3-2 win over Geert Nentjes, the Hurricane pummelled the second seed. Cross joins Jermaine Wattimena on a list of toppled seeds that will likely grow before the World Darts Championship enters its Christmas hiatus.
The mood in the Alexandra Palace was sombre, following Raymond van Barneveld’s bitter World Darts Championship farewell in the match before. There wasn’t much fanfare for Cross when he notched the opening leg of the game.
But the world number two stuttered badly afterwards, struggling to achieve any sort of consistency on the board. Huybrechts made the most of that dip as early as the third leg, breaking throw with consummate ease.
The set was wrapped up, and the intrigue racked up as a big shock loomed.
The 2018 world champion had won all of his previous encounters with Huybrechts, but that record was cast in serious doubt. Set two was all Huybrechts, with the Belgian repeatedly punishing his opponent. A 3-0 set victory was remarkably straightforward.
Cross crossed off
It seemed that all the pressure of defending £400,000 in prize money was weighing heavily on Cross’ mind. Eyebrows shot through the Ally Pally roof when Voltage busted 130, then missing bullseye on the second attempt.
The World Matchplay and European Championship holder missed more darts to grab a lifeline, allowing Huybrechts in to take a seventh consecutive leg, and a third break.
Just as Cross looked set to grab a regulation leg, in swept the Hurricane to blow him away with a scintillating 152 kill. And at two sets and two legs down, the man who lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy two years ago was about to suffer the ignominy of a heavy defeat.
Huybrechts’ leg-winning streak was ended; he responded with a 180 in the next.
Certain Sky Sports viewers then missed what happened next. To fill in the blanks, Huybrechts sealed a historic win, overflowing with emotion as Cross slouched off the stage, head bowed. Nine of the 11 legs were Huybrechts’, as was the third round spot.
The Belgian star will now meet Danny Noppert, Steve Lennon or Callan Rydz in round three. Cross will have to go back to Hastings and reflect on a shocking end to the season, and the challenge that awaits in 2020.
Click here for more information on the PDC World Championship, which takes place at the Alexandra Palace between December 13 and January 1.
PDC World Darts Championship 2020 schedule
Saturday 14 December, evening session
Mark McGeeney (93.66) 3-1 (88.33) Matt Campbell (R1)
Jamie Hughes (95.47) 2-3 (94.22) Zoran Lerchbacher (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld (96.13) 1-3 (87.92) Darin Young (R1)
Rob Cross  (89.64) 0-3 (89.44) Kim Huybrechts (R2)Tags: Kim Huybrechts, PDC, PDC World Darts Championship 2020, Rob Cross
Author: Ed McCosh