Michael van Gerwen survived a massive scare against inspired Spaniard Cristo Reyes, as Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor breezed through to the third-round of the World Championship with emphatic whitewash victories on day ten at the Alexandra Palace on Tuesday evening.
Van Gerwen saw off the challenge of an inspired Cristo Reyes to prevail in an absolutely sensational second-round clash. Van Gerwen averaged 105.24, hit 23 140’s, eleven maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts, as Reyes averaged 106.07; the highest losing average in the history of the World Championship.
‘Mighty Mike’ strolled to the first set without dropping a leg. The world number one opened his account on D7, before punishing a mediocre leg from the Spaniard to break throw. Reyes was yet to settle and ‘The Green Machine’ went for the kill; posting a 174 and converting an 11-dart leg on tops to secure the opener.
Nevertheless, Reyes launched a remarkable recovery to level up proceedings. Cristo won his first leg with a magnificent 10-darter on D18, before he hit the same double to complete a 73 outshot after MvG had missed three darts to hold. Reyes was brimming with confidence at this point, and rounded off the set with a confident 14-dart kill.
Normal service was resumed for MvG early in set three, as he followed up a 12-darter with a sublime 161 finish. However, Reyes stayed alive with a classy tops-tops 100 finish, before firing in a 13-darter to force a set decider. ‘The Spartan’ left 36 after just 12 darts but MvG held his nerve to pin D5 with his last dart in hand to regain the lead in sets.
The opening two legs of set four were shared, before the world number one produced two stunning legs to seize command of the tie. Van Gerwen clinically dispatched a two-dart 88 combination for an 11-dart break of throw after Reyes suffered an unfortunate bounce-out, before MvG hit D18 to complete a 76 kill and establish a 3-1 cushion.
Reyes left 87 after 9 darts as he attempted to fightback, but Van Gerwen registered a sublime 164 checkout on the bull to hold. However, Reyes then won two of the next three legs to force a set decider, and with MvG throwing for the match the Dutchman endured a nightmare, as the 32nd seed pinned D16 to reduce the arrears to 3-2.
Reyes was feeding off the crowd’s energy and drew first blood in the sixth set with a nerveless 61 kill. The pair then exchanged 12-darters as Reyes moved to within a leg of forcing a seventh and final set, but the Spanish star missed one set dart in each of the next two legs as Van Gerwen found D8 to secure victory in an absolute barnstormer.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld produced a vintage display as he dispatched Alan Norris 4-0 to set up a tantalising last 16 showdown with two-time world champion Adrian Lewis. Van Barneveld averaged 103.59, landed seven maximums and hit 42% of his doubles as he just dropped just two legs en route to victory.
Van Barneveld made a blistering start to the contest, winning the opening set without reply. He posted maximums in successive legs to establish a 2-0 cushion, before sealing the set with a clinical 80 kill. Norris’ only opportunity at double came in the very first leg, when he wired D16 for a 146 finish.
The second set followed a similar pattern of Dutch domination. Norris landed his first maximum but missed two darts at D4 to open his account, before Barney won his fifth straight leg on D3 after ‘Chuck’ missed the bull for a 170 outshot. The Den Haag ace continued his merciless display as he pinned D8 to surge 2-0 ahead.
The five-time world champion drew first blood in the third set with a quality two-dart 96 finish after Norris had pressured with a 171, before Barney breezed to his eighth successive leg by virtue of hitting D9. Norris was becoming increasingly frustrated and Van Barneveld pounced, hitting tops to win his third set despite having yet to drop a leg.
Barney’s procession continued as he landed two maximums and broke Norris in 11 darts to win his tenth straight leg, but Norris finally opened his account with a 64 kill, before doubling his tally with a 13-darter. However, Van Barneveld responded with a stunning 121 finish (T20, T11, D14), before rounding off a majestic whirewash with an 11-darter.
Phil Taylor eased into the third-round with a 4-0 win against Kevin Painter, in a repeat of the pair’s classic 2004 World Championship final showdown. Taylor failed to produce his best form; averaging 92.75 and converting 35% of his attempts at double , but it was still sufficient to sail through in convincing fashion.
Taylor kicked off proceedings in sensational style, breaking Painter’s throw with a stunning 167 checkout. ‘The Power’ then landed his first maximum and pinned D16 to extend his lead and although Painter converted a 101 finish on tops to stay alive, Taylor overcame double-trouble to nail D8 and clinch the opening set.
The Stoke-on-Trent star opened his account in set two with a tidy 86 finish, but Painter delivered a fine riposte with a 121 checkout culminating on D18. However, the 16-time world champion regained the initiative on D16, before doubling his advantage on D1 after ‘The Artist’ spurned opportunities to force a decider.
The former world finalist pinned D12 to draw first blood in set three, before Taylor drew level with a 74 kill after ‘The Artist’ missed darts at D16 and D8 to break. The 49-year-old regained the lead by taking out 68, but after missing three set darts in the fourth leg, Painter was ruthlessly punished as ‘The Power’ extended his lead.
This proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Billericay ace. Taylor pinned D18 to hit the front in set four, before moving to within a leg of victory with a fine 14-darter. The 16-time world champion then landed his second maximum en route to closing out a comprehensive win, despite producing a less than vintage performance.
Earlier this afternoon, seventh seed Dave Chisnall saw off the spirited challenge of debutant Chris Dobey in the final game of Tuesday’s afternoon session. Dobey averaged 90.71 and landed six maximums but it wasn’t enough to overcome the St Helen’s ace, who prevailed with a 92.88 average, six maximums and 37% on the doubles.
The opening two sets were shared, before the 26-year-old spurned two set darts in the third which Chisnall punished with a clinical 70 checkout. ‘Hollywood’ responded impressively in the fourth however, taking out a nerveless 64 kill to steal the set and restore parity at two sets apiece.
Dobey was showing no fear in his debut World Championship, but for his second game in succession Chisnall upped the ante when the situation demanded, winning six of the remaining seven legs to record an excellent 4-2 truimph and set up a third-round meeting with either Jelle Klaasen or Brendan Dolan.
Daryl Gurney secured a place in the last 16 of the World Championship for the very first time after edging past ninth seed Robert Thornton in a topsy-turvy affair. Gurney dominated the early stages of the contest, winning the opening seven legs without reply to establish a two-set lead.
However, ‘The Thorn’ displayed admirable resilience as he recovered to win the next three sets and move to the cusp of victory. Yet Gurney remained defiant, taking out a majestic 161 finish en route to levelling up the contest at three apiece to force a seventh and deciding set.
Thornton had the advantage of throw in the final set but ‘SuperChin’ produced at the right time and maintained his composure, taking out finishes of 74, 58 and 54 to clinch the set without reply to progress with a 95 average and 51% on the doubles.
The Northern Irishman will take on former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster in the last 16, after the Welshman dumped out eighth seed Mensur Suljovic in a scrappy tussle. Both players are notorious for their clinical finishing yet they endured a nightmare on this occasion, having 115 double attempts between them.
The pair both registered eight maximums apiece but Webster appeared to be heading for a convincing triumph after moving 3-1 ahead. However, ‘The Gentle’ won successive sets via last-leg deciders to force a dramatic conclusion to this second-round tie.
Nevertheless, although Suljovic had the momentum, Webster rallied to reach round-three for the second year in succession. The left-hander won the seventh and final set to nil as Suljovic was left to rue uncharacteristic profligacy which saw him convert just 12 of his 56 attempts at double, as Webster won through with a 92.79 average.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
William Hill World Darts Championship
Tuesday December 27
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Mensur Suljovic (8) 3-4 Mark Webster (25)
Robert Thornton (9) 3-4 Daryl Gurney (24)
Dave Chisnall (7) 4-2 Chris Dobey
Evening Session (8pm)
Raymond van Barneveld (12) 4-0 Alan Norris (21)
Phil Taylor (4) 4-0 Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen (1) 4-2 Cristo Reyes (32)