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Michael Van Gerwen and Michael Smith reach fourth round of World Darts Championship

Michael Van Gerwen continued his search for a fourth World Championship crown with a comfortable 4-0 win over Richard Veenstra.

But for once, Van Gerwen had not been the one people had been talking about as 16-year-old Luke Littler stole the headlines after taking the tournament by storm with a sensational performance to destroy Matt Campbell 4-1 in the last 32.

And he was keen for some of the limelight.

“I wish everyone gives me attention because when you get attention it is a pleasure, it is something good,” he said.

“When they talk about you it is a good sign, it means you still mean something to the sport.”

He eased past his compatriot Veenstra and said there was more to come.

“I think there is more to get, I feel comfortable and I feel good and I am looking forward,” he added.

“I was pleased, with the way I played. It gave me confidence, that is the way you want to do things. I did what I had to do.”

Defending champion Michael Smith had to work much harder to beat Madars Razma.

‘Bully Boy’ is not performing anywhere near the standard that saw him win a maiden title last year but he did enough to get past Razma 4-1.

“It wasn’t the best performance but I managed to battle on and get over the line in the end,” Smith said.

Scott Williams earlier courted controversy after joking about England winning “two World Wars and one World Cup” following his third-round win over German Martin Schindler.

Williams won a final-set decider to advance 4-3 before making the heavy-handed remark in his post-match interview on Sky Sports.

The match was played in a raucous atmosphere at Alexandra Palace where Williams had most of the support from a partisan crowd, though there was also a German contingent.

Speaking to Sky Sports after his win, Williams said: “What a game! I’m so happy to get to the other side as the winner as well.

“Martin brought the fight and I wasn’t expecting to go all the way to sudden death as well. I’m knackered, I’m absolutely knackered.

“I’ve never had the crowd on my side like that. I know we won two World Wars and one World Cup. The German fans here were huge as well.”

Meanwhile, Rob Cross showed he could be a contender for a second crown after battling into the last 16.

Cross has struggled to hit the heights since his memorable title win on debut in 2018, but enjoyed his best season in 2023 coming into the Alexandra Palace tournament.

He was made to work hard for a 4-2 victory over Jeffrey De Graaf, with the former electrician sparking into life in the final set with an average of 116.

Dave Chisnall’s victory over Gabriel Clemens was more straightforward, as he won 4-1.

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