Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld edged out Adrian Lewis in a seven-set thriller, whilst defending champion Gary Anderson defeated an inspired Benito van de Pas to book his place in the World Championship quarter-finals on a dramatic night of action at the Alexandra Palace on Wednesday evening.
Van Barneveld came from 3-2 down to defeat two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in a topsy-turvy clash to reach the last eight at Ally Pally once again. Neither player were at their vintage best, but Van Barneveld prevailed with a 95 average, three maximums and a 38% conversion rate on the doubles.
Lewis succumbed to a last 16 defeat against Van Barneveld for the second time in three years at Ally Pally despite averaging 98.05, firing in six maximums and converting an impressive 65% of his attempts at double, but ultimately the Dutch legend produced the goods at the crucial moments.
Nevertheless, ‘Jackpot’ made a blistering start to clinch the opening set without reply. The Stoke-on-Trent star landed identical 90 checkouts to round off respective 11-dart legs and also pinned D16 to seal first blood with a 114.55 average.
Van Barneveld fought back to restore parity however. The 49-year-old was struggling for fluency but took out key finishes of 74 and 70, including a 15-darter in the fifth and final leg of the set; to hold throw.
This ignited the five-time world champion, who took out a clinical 64 kill to break Lewis early in set three. The Dutchman extended his cushion on D8, but Lewis stayed alive in the set after producing a sensational 10-dart leg; the best of the tournament thus far. It was to no avail however, as Barney wrapped up his second straight set on D4.
Van Barneveld pegged D4 at the sixth time of asking to hit the front in set four but Lewis levelled with a clinical 86 finish, before capitalising on further misses from RvB to convert a 117 finish to break throw. Barney broke back instantly but spurned one dart at D16 for a 3-1 lead, as Lewis pounced to hit tops for a 13-darter to restore parity at two apiece.
Lewis upped the ante after the second interval and fired in his third maximum en route to holding throw. The fifth seed then crashed in a quality 112 finish to break, and whilst Van Barneveld stayed alive with a classy 75 kill culminating on D9, ‘Jackpot’ clinched the set with another ton-plus finish; taking out 106 to move to within a set of victory.
Barney was at the point of no return, but illustrated why he’s won five world titles with a clinical sixth set display. The Dutchman held throw with a vital 64 finish, before rounding off a 14-dart leg on D6 to break throw. Lewis missed darts to stay alive and Van Barneveld pounced, converting a 66 checkout to force a seventh set decider.
Lewis failed to take out 91 to hold in the opener and Barney finally halted his D16 woes to convert a 72 checkout for a precious break. RvB hit the same target to move within a leg of the last eight, and although the two-time world champ hit a sixth 180 and a 73 finish to preserve his hopes, Barney sank D16 again to complete a 15-dart leg to triumph.
The performance of the night saw Gary Anderson overcome a very impressive Benito van de Pas in an epic tussle. Anderson averaged 107.68, hit eleven maximums and converted 58% of his double attempts, as Van de Pas was dumped out despite averaging 102.30, landing nine maximums and boasting a 50% checkout success rate.
Anderson won an extraordinary opening set with an average of over 114. Van de Pas drew first blood with a 15-dart hold, before breaking in 12 darts with a stunning 121 finish (T20, T11, D14).
Nevertheless, the world champion fired in four maximums in three legs to fightback and steal the set. He stayed alive with a quality 11-darter, before pinning a nerveless 61 kill with ‘Big Ben’ sat on a double. The Scot then punished an ordinary leg from the 23-year-old, to seal the opener with an assured 13-darter via D12.
The second set was equally spellbinding. Anderson landed three maximums in the first three legs; with his two winning legs coming in 11 and 12 darts respectively. Van de Pas forced a set decider with two 14-dart holds, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ doubled his lead by pinning tops for a 13-darter after the pair had traded maximums moments earlier.
Anderson kicked off the third set with his ninth maximum and a 65 finish culminating on D4. The world champion maintained his 100% checkout ratio with a clean 75 kill on tops, but Van de Pas stayed alive in the set with a majestic 143 finish (T18, T19, D16). However, his hopes were soon extinguished as Anderson nailed a two-dart 96 finish for 3-0.
The Scot defied two maximums from the 15th seed to win the opening leg of set four on D1. Benito responded by levelling on tops before taking out a stunning 125 finish to lead. Anderson fired back with six perfect darts to break throw in 12 darts, yet ‘Big Ben’ stole the set with a classy 72 finish after Ando spurned one match dart moments earlier.
This appeared to play on the Scot’s mind as Van de Pas reduced the arrears to 3-2 after winning the fifth set without reply. The Dutchman won the opening two legs of the set after missed doubles from Anderson, before Benito took out an unconventional 112 finish (S20, T18, D19) to clinch the set after Anderson had missed the bull for a 170 outshot.
The pair exchanged sublime 11-darters to kick off the sixth set, before Anderson moved to within a leg of victory after rounding off a 13-dart leg on D4. Van de Pas had an opportunity to force a set decider but squandered four darts at double as the world champion secured his progression on D12.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright dropped just one leg as he dismantled Welsh star Jamie Lewis in the last of the second-round ties. Snakebite was in magnificent form; averaging 103.53 and converting an astonishing 12 of his 16 attempts at double to breeze through to the last 16.
The Welshman squandered opportunities in the opening few legs and this set the tone for Wright’s dominance. The third seed won the opening eight legs, before Lewis finally opened his account with a fine 110 checkout. However, he wasn’t afforded further chances as Wright took out finishes of 89, 100 and 130 in the final set to round-off victory.
James Wade produced one of his best performances on the Alexandra Palace stage as he saw off former world champion Steve Beaton 4-1 in round-two on Wednesday afternoon. Beaton rolled back the years; averaging 97.74, landing seven maximums and hitting 32% of his double attempts, but it wasn’t enough to overcome ‘The Machine’.
Wade won the opening three sets with an average in excess of 104, but ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ won the set that his play merited after the left-hander momentarily lost his focus in the fourth. Nevertheless, the eight-time major winner regained his composure to round off victory with 99.39 average and a 50% checkout success ratio.
Tenth seed Jelle Klaasen produced a clinical display of finishing as he whitewashed dogged Northern Irishman Brendan Dolan in round-two. Dolan has never gone beyond the second-round at the World Championship and that record continues after ‘The Cobra’ progressed in straight sets to set up a tasty last 16 clash with Dave Chisnall.
However, the scoreline was harsh on ‘The History-Maker’. If the match had been played over a legs format Klaasen would have prevailed 12-7, with three of the four sets going to fifth and deciding legs. Yet the Dutchman was clinical; averaging 93.32, hitting five maximums and boasting an impressive 60% checkout success rate to triumph.
Kim Huybrechts set up a last 16 showdown with Phil Taylor after whitewashing former World-Youth champion Max Hopp in the opening match of Wednesday’s double-session. ‘The Hurricane’ averaged 92.76, landed five maximums and converted 39% of his attempts at doubles to maintain his record of having yet to drop a set in this year’s event.
The Belgian won the opening three sets by a 3-1 scoreline, but Hopp demonstrated greater resilience in the last set by forcing a fifth and deciding leg. However, Huybrechts was up to the task; sealing victory with his best leg of the match after following up a maximum with a clinical 102 checkout.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 28
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Kim Huybrechts (13) 4-0 Max Hopp
James Wade (6) 4-1 Steve Beaton (27)
Jelle Klaasen (10) 4-0 Brendan Dolan (23)
Evening Session (7pm)
Peter Wright (3) 4-0 Jamie Lewis (30)
Gary Anderson (2) 4-2 Benito van de Pas (15)
Adrian Lewis (5) 3-4 Raymond van Barneveld (12)