Michael van Gerwen survived a scare to set up a World Championship quarter-final showdown against his old rival Raymond van Barneveld, whilst second seed Peter Wright suffered a shock second-round defeat to an inspired Jamie Lewis on a dramatic day of darts at the Alexandra Palace.
However, whilst Wright suffered a shock exit, Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld prevailed to set up a World Championship showdown for the third year in succession. Barney stunned MvG in the last 16 back in 2016, before MvG averaged an astonishing 114.05 to exact revenge in last year’s incredible semi-final.
However, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for Van Gerwen against UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price, who produced a battling display against the world number one. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 100.06 and landed twelve maximums to triumph, but that didn’t tell the whole story, with the pair each winning 13 legs in a tightly-fought tussle.
The world champion won a tense opening set in a dramatic decider after Price had spurned a fine opportunity to lead, before Van Gerwen hammered home a sublime 170 finish en route to moving 2-0 ahead, after once again prevailing in a set decider.
MvG then hit the front in the third set and appeared on the verge of closing out a comprehensive victory, but ‘The Iceman’ launched an inspired comeback. He reeled off three legs in succession to reduce the arrears to 2-1, before legs of 13, 13 and 12 darts saw Price claim the fourth set with a 118 average, to restore parity at two apiece.
Suddenly the Welshman had reeled off six legs on the spin and Van Gerwen was rattled. Price held the initiative for most of the fifth set but crucially spurned five darts at tops for a 3-2 cushion and this proved to be a critical error. The Dutchman gratefully took out 62 to wrestle back control and then wrapped up the sixth to survive a major scare.
MvG will now take on Raymond van Barneveld in a blockbuster quarter-final clash, after the five-time world champion breezed through to the last eight with a convincing 4-1 win over fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.
Van der Voort hadn’t dropped a set in beating Dave Chisnall and Steve Beaton to reach round-three, but he was outplayed throughout by Van Barneveld, who averaged 101.04 and reeled off nine straight legs to continue his brilliant record at the Alexandra Palace.
Van der Voort kicked off proceedings with a sensational 156 checkout after Barney missed two at double to hold, but the 50-year-old responded with three straight legs to clinch the opener. However, Van der Voort then hammered home two 90 finishes on the bull to level up proceedings at 1-1, with RvB sat on D16 poised to seal a 2-0 lead.
Van Barneveld then spurned three darts at double in the opening leg of set three and ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ completed a clinical 74 finish to break throw. Nevertheless, the five-time world champion responded with a majestic 161 finish for an instant break back and from then on, it was a procession for the legendary Den Haag ace.
Van Barneveld rattled in finishes of 71 and 96 to regain the initiative and his clinical finishing continued in the fourth, as he took out fine 72 and 112 checkouts to move 3-1 ahead. Barney had claimed six legs in succession and Van der Voort couldn’t respond, as the Dutchman secured the fifth set without reply; rounding-off the win inside 13 darts.
Elsewhere, Jamie Lewis produced the performance of his life to stun Peter Wright in the final match of the second-round. The Welshman had never recorded a 100+ average on television prior to his clash with ‘Snakebite’, but he secured a stunning 4-1 win after averaging 107.27, landing 13 180’s and converting three huge ton-plus finishes.
Wright drew first blood in a tightly contested opening set with a 15-dart break on tops, before holding throw early in set two. However, Lewis fought back magnificently to level the tie. He dispatched finishes of 125, 81 and 123, the latter two culminating on the bullseye, to round-off three consecutive 12-dart legs.
Lewis was scoring magnificently- landing ten maximums in as many legs, and he averaged 120 to clinch the third set via a decider. He kicked off the fourth set with a sublime 11-darter and although Wright responded to draw level, the Welsh qualifier dispatched a nerveless 121 kill on the bull to steal the set and establish a 3-1 cushion.
Wright had been sat on D8 to draw level and this deflated the world number two, but he fired in a classy 12-darter to break through midway through the fifth set. Nevertheless, Snakebite spurned four set darts and Lewis pounced; pinning D11 to level, before converting a 66 checkout on D12 to wrap up a stunning victory inside 15 darts.
Lewis will take on James Richardson for a place in the quarter-finals, after ‘Ruthless’ dumped out 15th seed Alan Norris in a topsy-turvy tussle. The match was dominated by missed doubles with the pair missing 62 between them, but Richardson averaged 86.78 and crashed in seven maximums to seal a 4-1 victory.
The opening three sets all went with throw, with Norris losing two treble 20 darts out of the board in the final leg of set three. ‘Chuck’ responded well and appeared poised to square the contest at two apiece, but with Norris sat on a double, Richardson piled on the pain; firing in a brilliant 104 checkout on tops to establish a two-set advantage.
The fifth set was dominated by missed doubles, with Richardson squandering four match darts in the fourth leg. Norris capitalised to force a set decider but the Northamptonshire ace held his nerve; following up his seventh 180 with a 15-dart hold via D8 to secure the biggest pay-day of his career to date.
Darren Webster continued his superb World Championship record against Simon Whitlock to book his place in the last 16. ‘The Demolition Man’ whitewashed Whitlock 4-0 at the same stage twelve months ago and recorded another comprehensive win over the Aussie; to seal his third Ally Pally win over ‘The Wizard’ in the last four years.
Webster sneaked a scrappy opening set on throw, before converting a nerveless 64 finish midway through set two which helped him double his advantage. ‘The Demolition Man’ then continued his dominance on throw to extend his lead to 3-0.
Whitlock averted the whitewash as he dispatched checkouts of 90 and 111 to clinch the fourth set without reply, but the tenth seed was unable to complete an unlikely comeback, as Webster coasted to the fifth set to triumph with a modest 90.2 average.
Webster will now take on Spanish star Toni Alcinas, who silenced a partisan German contingent at the Ally Pally to defeat Kevin Munch 4-1. Munch had caused the upset of the tournament thus far in defeating Adrian Lewis in round-one, but he was unable to replicate that performance as Alcinas triumphed with a 91.11 average.
Alcinas hammered home a vital 120 checkout to claim a topsy-turvy opening set, before taking out a classy 121 on the bull en route to claiming the second set without reply. Munch then exploited some profligate finishing from Alcinas to halve the deficit to 2-1, but he was unable to sustain this momentum.
With the contest finely poised in the fourth set, the bullseye once again came to the Spaniard’s rescue. He completed a classy 86 outshot on the bull to restore his two-set buffer and then landed three maximums in just four legs in the fifth set to seal his progression in relatively emphatic fashion.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
|Simon Whitlock (10)||1-4||Darren Webster (23)|
|Alan Norris (15)||1-4||James Richardson|
|Kevin Munch||1-4||Toni Alcinas|
|Peter Wright (2)||1-4||Jamie Lewis|
|Vincent van der Voort||1-4||Raymond van Barneveld (9)|
|Michael van Gerwen (1)||4-2||Gerwyn Price (16)|