PDC World Championship: Lisa Ashton battles hard before losing to Jan Dekker

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PDC World Championship: Lisa Ashton battles hard before losing to Jan Dekker
Ashton will defend her BDO world women’s title in January

BDO women’s world champion Lisa Ashton gave world number 43 Jan Dekker a huge scare on the opening night of the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Ashton was aiming to become the first woman to beat a man at a World Championship.

But after Ashton took the opening set, the Dutchman regained his composure to run out a 3-1 winner.

Elsewhere, reigning PDC champion Rob Cross had to work hard before winning his opening match.

The 28-year-old from Kent, who won last year’s title on his debut, lost the first set before getting past rising Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-1 in round two.

The expansion of this year’s worlds led to two guaranteed places for female players with Ashton and Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova, who played in the preliminary round in 2009 and who starts her campaign against Ryan Joyce on Monday, coming through qualifying and hoping to create history.

‘I hope I’ve done ladies’ darts proud’

Ashton started confidently with a 140 from her first three darts, finished the opening leg with a 110 checkout, and sealed the first set with a 121 on the bull.

However, she was unable to maintain that big scoring and Dekker rattled off five legs in a row on his way to going 2-1 up.

The 28-year-old never looked entirely comfortable but did enough to set up a second round meeting with former semi-finalist Mervyn King.

“I’m a bit gutted,” Ashton told Sky Sports afterwards.

“In the second set I let him in and once you let him in, you can’t do that.

“The crowd were brilliant and without them I couldn’t have done it out there. Hopefully I can come back again and I’ve done ladies darts proud.”

Cross, who has struggled somewhat since beating Phil Taylor for the biggest win of his career, knew De Zwaan would be a tricky opponent.

The 22-year-old Dutchman who has beaten world number one Michael Van Gerwen twice this year, defeated Indian qualifier Nithin Kumar earlier in the evening to set up the tie against Cross.

But although the Englishman was outplayed in the opening set, he did enough when it mattered, taking out 121 under pressure to win the third set and then sweeping through the fourth set to advance.

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