REIGNING William Hill World Champion Rob Cross got his title defence off to winning start in a brilliant match against Jeffrey de Zwaan as the 2018/19 tournament began at Alexandra Palace, London.

Day One of the £2.5 million event saw world number two Cross, from Hastings, progress to the third round, as Jan Dekker and Cody Harris moved into round two.

Cross defied an average of 106.09 - the second highest losing average in the tournament's history - to seal a 3-1 win against the Dutch youngster, who won the first three legs to take the first set.

Cross, who averaged 102.93, produced crucial set-winning checkouts of 96 and 121 to move ahead before winning the third set 3-1.

"I thought that my finishing got me through," said Cross, who famously won the Sid Waddell Trophy on his debut in January.

"I think I had been written off on social media but that goes with the territory and Jeffrey was fantastic so I'm really pleased.

"He is one of the best players in the world in my opinion but you can't buy the grit I showed in that match.

"If someone is going to beat me here they are going to have to play really well because I can play better and I believe I can win it again."