The Tipton thrower – nicknamed ‘Yozza’ – bounced back from an opening-day defeat to Dave Chisnall to thrash four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton 5-1 at Aldersley Leisure Village yesterday afternoon. And with Cross also losing to Chisnall, Hughes’ clash with the 2018 world champion is a winner-takes-all encounter for the second qualification spot from Group E.
Meanwhile, Michael Smith recorded the third highest average in the history of the Grand Slam of Darts as he qualified for the knockout phase of the event alongside Dave Chisnall and Gabriel Clemens on Sunday.
Smith averaged 113.62 in a brilliant 5-1 win over Nathan Aspinall as the world number three ensured his place in the last 16. He continued his superb start to the event, following up Saturday’s victory over Glen Durrant with a second win in as many days, meaning that the Lakeside Champion and Aspinall now face a shoot-out today.
“It was a massive match and I knew I had to win, so I’m pleased to play so well,” said Smith. “Nathan said I was phenomenal and I felt I owed him one for when he beat me in Las Vegas.
“It was a big game and I’m glad I did myself proud and got the win, and I’m safe. As long as I won the match that was the most important thing for me – the record average would have been nice, but records don’t win you tournaments.
“This event is a target for me because I’m desperate to win a TV title. That’s been my aim this year.”
In yesterday’s evening session, reigning champion Gerwyn Price survived two missed match darts from Robert Thornton before claiming his second Group C victory with a 5-4 win over the Scot.
Price now plays Dimitri Van den Bergh in their final Group C match on Tuesday, after the World Youth Champion defeated Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki 5-1.
Two-time finalist James Wade also survived missed match darts as he came from 4-2 down to defeat Ian White 5-4, with Steve Lennon coming from 3-0 down to defeat Wesley Harms 5-4 by taking out a stunning 167 finish in the deciding leg.
Darren Webster bounced back from Saturday’s defeat to Gary Anderson with a 5-2 win over Dave Parletti, taking out a key 125 checkout of bull-25-bull on his way to a first Group D victory.
BDO World Trophy winner Jim Williams claimed his first Group A win, defeating Ross Smith 5-1 to give himself a chance of progression on Tuesday.