Luke Littler, 16, charges into World Darts Championship semi-finalson January 1, 2024 at 10:29 pm

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Teenager Luke Littler powers through to the PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals with a 5-1 victory over Brendan Dolan.

Luke Littler shakes hands with Brendan Dolan after his victoryImage source, Getty Images

Teenager Luke Littler stormed through to the PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals with a 5-1 victory over Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan.

The 16-year-old followed up his 4-1 win over Raymond van Barneveld with another dazzling display at Alexandra Palace.

Littler is now favourite for the trophy after Michael van Gerwen was beaten 5-3 by England’s Scott Williams.

He will play fellow Englishman Rob Cross next after the 2018 champion came from 4-0 down to beat Chris Dobey 5-4.

World number four Williams will play Luke Humphries in the last four after sweeping past Dave Chisnall to reach his first world semi-final.

Littler, the youngest player to win a match at the World Championship, has dropped only four sets all tournament.

“Now I am dreaming,” he told Sky Sports. “I’m two games away. I’m definitely thinking about lifting the title.”

“If I keep it up I’ve got a good chance.”

In another dominant performance, the Warrington-born youngster hit five 180s, had three 100-plus finishes and averaged just under 102 – the third time he has averaged at least 100 in the tournament. He has not dropped more than one set in any of his five matches.

After wrapping up the victory Littler, who has now earned £100,000 in prize money, knelt down and took selfies with fans who had gathered at the front of the stage.

He will face Cross on Tuesday from 19:30 GMT.

“Rob Cross won it on debut as well,” Littler said. “I am looking forward to playing him in the semis. It will be nice to chill in the morning and then come back in the evening.”

Littler, who started playing darts aged 18 months old, has risen from relative obscurity to sporting stardom during his run at the Alexandra Palace.

A Manchester United supporter, he received good-luck messages from defender Jonny Evans and former captain Gary Neville before his meeting with Van Barneveld.

He was asked for a photograph by Arsenal players Aaron Ramsdale and Declan Rice last week, and watched Tottenham’s Premier League match against Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve in hospitality.

In Monday’s first game, Cross made history by becoming the first player to fight back from 4-0 to win a World Championship quarter-final in a classic encounter with Dobey.

The 33-year-old looked to be facing certain defeat after falling 4-0 down in less than an hour, but appeared revitalised after a break before the fifth set.

The world number eight reeled off four straight sets to level the game, before a 130 checkout made it five in a row to seal a famous victory.

Cross also recovered from 8-2 down to beat Dobey 11-9 at the 2022 World Matchplay in Blackpool.

“I just thought it’s all about me and I still believe even when I’m 4-0 down. I had one of the greatest comebacks against Chris at the Matchplay, so I might as well make it at the Worlds,” Cross said.

On the prospect of facing Littler, Cross said: “He’s amazing. He’s 16. I’ve got a boy who’s four years younger. Whatever he achieves, he’s going to have a bright future.”

Van Gerwen went into his match against Williams as the favourite to lift the trophy for a fourth time after the likes of Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright had been knocked out earlier in the tournament.

But the world number two was punished for a below-par display, missing 27 darts at doubles, as Williams reached the last four for the first time in his second appearance at the World Championships.

“I just knocked the best player in the world out,” Williams said.

“He wasn’t the Michael van Gerwen we’ve seen over the last couple of games but that’s not my problem.

“I hit the doubles and probably should have won it a little bit easier. I’m absolutely loving it up there. I love a crowd.”

Humphries is the highest-ranked player left in the competition after making light work of Chisnall to record his 17th straight win.

“It’s really exciting. We could have a new world champion or a two-time world champion,” Humphries said.

“I don’t think you can call it now. It is anybody’s game regardless of who is favourite.”

Monday, 1 January – quarter-final results

Chris Dobey (Eng) 4-5 Rob Cross (Eng)

Luke Littler (Eng) 5-1 Brendan Dolan (NI)

Michael van Gerwen (Ned) 3-5 Scott Williams (Eng)

Luke Humphries (Eng) 5-1 Dave Chisnall (Eng)

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