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Rob Cross beats nine-dart Luke Humphries to win NEO.bet Baltic Sea Darts Open final

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Rob Cross defied a brilliant nine-darter from Luke Humphries to win his second PDC European Tour title, taking victory in the NEO.bet Baltic Sea Darts Open final.

Cross had only claimed the title once in nine previous European Tour finals, but scooped the £30,000 top prize with a gutsy 8-6 win over the World Champion.

Humphries had shown his class with a sensational nine-darter as he moved 5-3 up in the final, only for Cross to take five of the next six legs for glory at Kiel’s Wunderino Arena.

Cross had edged out Masters champion Stephen Bunting 6-5 in a high-quality third round tie on Sunday afternoon, and needed a deciding leg to seal his comeback win over Ritchie Edhouse in the quarter-finals.

He then took out 156 and 126 during his 7-4 semi-final win over Madars Razma, booking a spot in a second European Tour final of 2024 – having seen Luke Littler land a nine-darter on his way to the Belgian Darts Open title in March.

This time, though, it was Cross who would emerge victorious following a high-quality final where the Hastings ace averaged 105.56 to Humphries’ 104.38 to win his first ranking title in 50 weeks.

“To hit back-to-back 12-darters to win was great and I’m happy that I’ve won something – it’s been a while!” said Cross, who defeated Humphries in the European Darts Grand Prix final last May.

“It’s an amazing experience to come up and win something again. I’ve got a new regime at the minute and it’s working. I feel much better, much fresher in the longer days and long may it continue.”

Cross and Humphries have now contested four European Tour finals, with the latter taking two wins in 2022 before the Hastings star claimed glory in Sindelfingen last year.

“Me and Luke always have good games and I really enjoyed it,” added Cross. “He’s number one for a reason – he’s the best player on the planet.

“I like playing Luke and he likes playing me – he’s probably got the upper hand of late. He’s got the world at his feet and we have a great friendship.”

Humphries opened the final with a 13-darter, but Cross remained level after four legs after he posted legs of 14 and 13 darts, before breaking for the first time to punish two missed doubles from the world number one.

Humphries broke back immediately by finishing 68 before an 11-darter moved him 4-3 up.

Humphries had missed double 12 for a nine-darter in Saturday’s second round win over Sebastian Bialecki, but the final’s eighth leg saw him achieve perfection – to the delight of the packed Kiel crowd.

Cross, though, responded superbly with an 11-darter and then levelled on double five, with Humphries taking out 78 for a 6-5 cushion only to see two further doubles punished as his rival squared the game on double eight.

Cross then broke with a 12-darter on double eight to move 7-6 up, and then sealed victory with another four-visit leg as he took out 100 for the title.

NEO.bet Baltic Sea Darts Open results

Friday May 10

Round One

  • Sebastian Bialecki 6-5 Jose de Sousa
  • Maik Kuivenhoven 6-0 Christopher Toonders
  • Andrew Gilding 6-1 Thibault Tricole
  • Franz Roetzsch 6-4 Haupai Puha
  • Moritz Hilger 6-2 Matthew Dennant
  • Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Brendan Dolan
  • Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Ryan Joyce
  • James Wade 6-2 Niels Zonneveld
  • Madars Razma 6-5 Chris Dobey
  • Gian van Veen 6-4 Kevin Troppmann
  • Daryl Gurney 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
  • Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Daniel Larsson
  • Andy Baetens 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
  • Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
  • Mike De Decker 6-3 Martin Schindler
  • Wessel Nijman 6-3 Luke Littler

Saturday May 11

Round Two

  • Franz Roetzsch 6-3 Josh Rock
  • Daryl Gurney 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • Ryan Searle 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
  • Ross Smith 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
  • Damon Heta 6-4 Gian van Veen
  • Joe Cullen 6-3 James Wade
  • Rob Cross 6-2 Maik Kuivenhoven
  • Ricardo Pietreczko 6-0 Moritz Hilger
  • Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Jonny Clayton
  • Danny Noppert 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
  • Andrew Gilding 6-2 Peter Wright
  • Luke Humphries 6-1 Sebastian Bialecki
  • Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Wessel Nijman
  • Mike De Decker 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
  • Stephen Bunting 6-3 Andy Baetens
  • Madars Razma 6-5 Dave Chisnall

Sunday May 12

Third Round

  • Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Andrew Gilding
  • Luke Humphries 6-4 Ross Smith
  • Danny Noppert 6-2 Franz Roetzsch
  • Mike De Decker 6-2 Damon Heta
  • Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
  • Rob Cross 6-5 Stephen Bunting
  • Ryan Searle 6-5 Daryl Gurney
  • Madars Razma 6-5 Joe Cullen

Quarter-Finals

  • Luke Humphries 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
  • Danny Noppert 6-4 Mike De Decker
  • Rob Cross 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
  • Madars Razma 6-3 Ryan Searle

Semi-Finals

  • Luke Humphries 7-4 Danny Noppert
  • Rob Cross 7-4 Madars Razma

Final

  • Rob Cross 8-6 Luke Humphries

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