Reigning champion Shaun Murphy says he is suffering from burnout after losing opening leg to Rob Cross

Shaun Murphy was gunning for a first-round ranking play-off berth in the PDC World Championship on Thursday night when he stumbled in a six-dart finish against world No. 1 Rob Cross.

Murphy held a two-set lead and had been leading the first-round tie-break 7-5. He saw his attempt to reach 15-12 go wrong, and Cross hit a double six. The challenge ended soon after as Murphy ducked a return to hand Cross a 7-6 lead.

“I think it’s not fair,” Murphy said. “Rob gets to practise 30, 40 times a week. I’ve got to play just 11 days a year, which is hard when I haven’t had a four-day break this season.

“I’m not happy. You get out of the game the best bit of the game is your shot, because everything else is a build-up. That’s just the way it is. I feel like I have competed well against Rob in the last few times we’ve played.”

Murphy is ranked No. 8 in the world and jumped to the top after Paul Nicholson suffered a hip injury that saw him make the lay-off, but he accepted the fact Cross is a professional lessened his chances.

“For sure,” Murphy said. “When Paul comes back he’s going to be 110 percent fit and ready to go. Rob doesn’t have that because he has got a job that he goes to work for every morning.”

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