LUKE HUMPHRIES sensationally defeated defending William Hill World Champion Rob Cross to move into the quarter-finals to move into the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace.
Humphries, who has topped the PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit in each of the last two years, came from two sets behind to send second seed Cross crashing out on Friday.
Successive checkouts of 106 and 107 set Cross on his way to taking the first set comfortably, winning three legs without reply.
The defending champion then added a 116 finish on his way to edging the second set 3-2.
Humphries took out 115 to seal the third set 3-1, before three 15-darters saw him take the third set 3-1.
The Newbury talent finished 114 and 64 on the way to a 3-1 success in the following set to level up the contest, before winning the fifth set by the same margin to take the lead.
Cross took a 2-0 lead in set six but a brilliant 11-darter sparked on run of three legs for Humphries, as he inflicted Cross’ first ever defeat on the Ally Pally stage.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to knock out the World Champion on a stage he’s never lost on before,” said Humphries, who will face Michael Smith in the quarter-finals.
“When I went 2-0 down I said to myself ‘if you want to be World Champion you’ve got to dig deep’ and that’s what I did, I didn’t give up because you’ve got to fight back in those situations.
“Two years ago I might’ve given up there but I believe in my own ability and I’m hugely proud of myself for that performance tonight.
“I take a lot of inspiration from Rob and his win last year has given players like me the belief that I can win this, and if I keep showing resilience like this then I can go all the way.”