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Fairytale continues as unheralded Englishman stuns Van Gerwen in thriller

Rob Cross will go head-to-head with 16-time world champion Phil Taylor on New Year’s Day.

Englishman Rob Cross
Englishman Rob Cross

ROB CROSS’ FAIRYTALE run continued after the unheralded Englishman defied the odds to beat world number one Michael van Gerwen in a gripping PDC World Championship semi-final.

Cross only turned professional at the start of the year but the 27-year-old is now preparing for a New Year’s Day final showdown with retiring 16-time world champion Phil Taylor following his memorable 6-5 victory Saturday.

With the Alexandra Palace rocking and behind World Championship debutant Cross amid a chorus of boos for Van Gerwen, the former had numerous chances to claim a stunning upset after leading 4-3 and levelling at 5-5.

Cross forced a sudden-death leg with a 16 and D18 to stay alive after Van Gerwen failed to close it out in tense scenes.

Van Gerwen proved wasteful again, missing a sixth match dart as Cross nailed a D8 to progress to the decider.

“I’ve written my own book this year,” Cross, who will improve to sixth in the world rankings, told Sky Sports. “I actually believe I can keep with Michael every day.

“I feel I can be better than what I am. Rankings don’t mean anything until I’m number one.”

On his upcoming clash against Taylor, Cross added: “He’s my favourite player. He’s dominant, but I need to do my own job. I never expected this rise — I’m just a normal working boy.”

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