Defending champion Michael van Gerwen survived a scare as he edged out Gerwyn Price in a nervy last-leg shootout, whilst world champion Gary Anderson was beaten on home soil by Joe Cullen in the World Series of Darts Finals at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on Saturday evening.
World number one Michael van Gerwen was made to sweat as he came through a first-round last-leg decider for the second event running. ‘The Green Machine’ fired in six maximums and averaged 98.82, almost twelve points higher than Price.
Van Gerwen led 5-2, but Price won three successive legs to force a last-leg decider, although MvG held throw comfortably in the final leg. Price was unable to replicate his performance from Saturday afternoon, where he hit six of his seven double attempts to defeat Steve Beaton 6-3.
Elsewhere, Joe Cullen caused the shock of the tournament by dumping out world champion and home favourite Gary Anderson. Anderson wore glasses on stage for the very first time and played with new darts, but Cullen was unfazed by the partisan atmosphere and held his nerve to close out a nail-biting deciding leg win.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ stormed into a 2-0 lead, but Cullen fired back with three straight legs, including a classy 124 finish on the bullseye. The next five legs went with throw, but Cullen completed the upset with a 13-darter, to claim his second deciding-leg victory of the day, having beaten Joe Murnan 6-5 in the afternoon session.
Phil Taylor won six straight legs to gain revenge on European Championship finalist Mensur Suljovic. ‘The Power’ suffered a shock 10-3 victory to the Austrian in last week’s European Championship quarter-finals, and Taylor appeared destined to suffer the same fate.
Earlier in the day, Suljovic produced a clinical performance to whitewash former World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton 6-0. Suljovic averaged in excess of 102, but Thornton was punished for an abject finishing display. ‘The Thorn’ failed to hit any of his ten double attempts, and he had opportunities to win five of the six legs.
This pattern seemed to be continuing as Suljovic established an early 3-0 lead over Taylor, after the 16-time world champion spurned numerous darts at double in the face of a boisterous Glasgow crowd. However Taylor recovered impressively, winning six consecutive legs and clinching victory with a 100.56 average.
Dave Chisnall produced a magnificent performance to defeat Kim Huybrechts 6-4 in a thrilling tussle. Chisnall averaged an incredible 112.94, landed four maximums and converted 67% of his darts at double to overcome the impressive Belgian, with the only break of throw coming in the opening leg.
Earlier in the day Huybrechts had edged out world number ten Jelle Klaasen in a cracking last-leg decider. Klaasen had the advantage of throw but the Belgian broke him in the final leg, converting a 90 finish on D10 to seal victory. Huybrechts then averaged 103.59 against Chizzy, but it still wasn’t enough to book his place in the last eight.
Peter Wright is the sole Scottish hope left in the competition as he overcame a spirited Daryl Gurney in the final match of the evening. Gurney had defeated Josh Payne 6-3 earlier in the afternoon, although Snakebite defeated ‘SuperChin’ by the same scoreline to reach the last eight.
The scores were locked at three apiece at one stage, but Wright upped the ante in the latter stages of the contest and won the final three legs without reply to finish with a 98.98 average. Snakebite’s reward is a quarter-final showdown with Gary Anderson’s conqueror Joe Cullen on Sunday afternoon.
Adrian Lewis recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Cristo Reyes and book his place in Sunday’s quarter-finals. Reyes came through his first-round tussle against Max Hopp after reeling off three straight legs to prevail in a deciding-leg shootout, averaging 97.02 in the process.
However, the Spaniard was on the other end of a comeback against the two-time world champion. Reyes took out a spectacular 148 checkout to establish a 2-0 lead, but Lewis grew into the contest and won six of the final seven legs to record a comfortable 6-3 victory; sealing his progression with a 94.29 average.
Benito van de Pas survived three match darts to defeat sixth seed James Wade in a nervy deciding-leg. Earlier in the day, Van de Pas set up a showdown with ‘The Machine’ by easing past an off-colour Michael Smith. Smith averaged a miserly 83 but recovered from 4-0 down to trail 4-3, before ‘Big Ben’ closed out a comfortable 6-3 win.
Nevertheless, Van de Pas produced a fine comeback from 5-3 down to edge out Wade in an enthralling tussle in Saturday’s evening session. Wade averaged 97.17 to Benito’s 96.20 and the eight-time major winner also boasted the higher checkout percentage. However, the Dutchman delivered in the decisive moments to sneak through.
Simon Whitlock continued his revival by winning his two matches to reach the quarter-finals. ‘The Wizard’ survived a late fightback to overcome Brendan Dolan in a decider on Saturday afternoon, before recording a convincing 6-2 win over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, hitting an 11-darter to complete the win.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals
Saturday November 5
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Max Hopp 5-6 Cristo Reyes
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Michael Smith
Jelle Klaasen 5-6 Kim Huybrechts
Brendan Dolan 5-6 Simon Whitlock
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Robert Thornton
Joe Murnan 5-6 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Steve Beaton
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Josh Payne
Best of 11 legs
Evening Session (7pm)
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Cristo Reyes
James Wade 5-6 Benito van de Pas
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Raymond van Barneveld 2-6 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 5-6 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Best of 11 legs