Former winners Rob Cross and Adrian Lewis crash out at Alexandra Palace

Former winners Rob Cross and Adrian Lewis both suffered shock early exits from the William Hill PDC World Championship following defeats in the second round at Alexandra Palace.

Cross, the 2018 champion who beat Peter Taylor in the final on his tournament debut, was edged out 3-2 by Dutchman Dirk Van Duijvenbode in a thrilling contest during Tuesday’s evening session.

Earlier, Lewis, who claimed back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2012, had lost against American Danny Baggish, who broke down in tears following his unexpected 3-1 victory.

Cross, the fifth seed, took the opening set 3-1 with a 90 checkout, averaging 104.8, only for World Grand Prix finalist Van Duijvenbode to land three 180s as he levelled things up.

The Englishman edged the third set 3-2 – but Van Duijvenbode, an administrative assistant on an aubergine farm in the Netherlands, responded again as five more maximums saw him claim the fourth set to force a decider.

Cross had the darts and landed a double top to close in on victory, but Van Duijvenbode continued to battle and forced a final-leg shoot-out.

After Cross hit 126 to seemingly set up 12 for the match, Van Duijvenbode then took out 99, finishing on double 18, to pull off another impressive win.

Rob Cross (right) walks off stage after losing to Dirk Van Duijvenbode (left) in the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace
Rob Cross, right, missed chances to win the match before Dirk Van Duijvenbode sealed a memorable victory (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Van Duijvenbode, who will face Adam Hunt for a place in the last 16, said on PDC social media: “Every leg was close, so I just kept it in my head to keep on going.

“This is different than a normal TV event, but I try to approach it like a normal TV event.

“No one can give me more pressure than I do myself, I was never a favourite in any game at the Grand Prix, and I proved them wrong – I like to be the underdog and prove that I can play.”

🗣️ "𝙄 𝙙𝙞𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙢𝙮 𝙗𝙧𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧, 𝙄 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙞𝙣 𝙢𝙮 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩."

Hear from an emotional Danny Baggish after his triumphant victory over two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis. pic.twitter.com/Z1OHMzJRnB

— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 22, 2020

Lewis, meanwhile, had earlier paid for a slow start, missing 15 darts at doubles during the opening two sets.

Although ‘Jackpot’ started to find his range in the third set with finishes of 84 and 127, it was only delaying the inevitable as Baggish landed a 170 checkout before completing a 3-1 victory.

The American will next take on 2020 Premier League winner Glen Durrant.

“I’m so happy. That is a special win for me,” said Baggish, who dedicated the impressive performance to his brother, Harrison, who had suffered a severe stroke at home in Florida.

Danny Baggish (left) cries after beating Adrian Lewis (right) at the PDC World  Championship
Danny Baggish was emotional after after beating former champion Adrian Lewis (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

“That was for my brother. I’m really emotional and that’s why I let it all out at the end.

“It has been a difficult and emotional 24 hours, but I am doing him proud at that means everything.”

Baggish, who knocked out Australian Damon Heta in the first round, added on www.pdc.tv: “People have written me off before both games, but I will keep showing them.”

Elsewhere during the afternoon session, Simon Whitlock, the 2010 runner-up, had seen off Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas in five sets, landing 10 maximums.

Australian Simon Whitlock celebrates after winning a match at the PDC World Championship
Australian Simon Whitlock was on good form at Alexandra Palace (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Yorkshireman Joe Cullen defeated Wayne Jones 3-0, and will next face Welsh World Cup of Darts winner Jonny Clayton.

Brendan Dolan recorded a 3-1 win over qualifier Edward Foulkes, who is based in Nagoya, Japan, to secure his place in the third round against world number three Gerwyn Price.

Tuesday’s late match saw World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van Den Bergh end the run of veteran 66-year-old Ally Pally favourite Paul Lim with a straightforward 3-0 win.

In the evening session, Dutch number 25 seed Danny Noppert came through a scrappy contest 3-1 against Cameron Carolissen, while South Africa’s Devon Petersen beat Irishman Steve Lennon by the same scoreline.

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