Michael van Gerwen has claimed that Adrian Lewis ‘wastes his talent at the moment’, after ‘The Green Machine’ set up a potential showdown with the Stoke-on-Trent star by recording a 4-1 victory over Max Hopp on Saturday night at the William Hill World Darts Championship.
Van Gerwen averaged 101.51, crashed in six maximums and converted 35% of his attempts at double to claim an emphatic third-round victory over the former World Youth champion, who threatened a late fightback in front of a big German contingent at the Ally Pally.
The world number one stormed to the opening set with a 116 average; registering legs of 13, 13 and 14 darts to win it without reply. He then doubled his lead shortly afterwards, before converting a majestic 170 checkout to clinch the third set to nil.
However, having won nine of the opening ten legs, Van Gerwen then lost five consecutive legs, with Hopp taking out a sensational 148 finish to secure the fourth set. ‘The Maximiser’ missed D14 for another 148 outshot to claim the fifth, but MvG responded by rattling off the next three legs to seal his spot in the last 16.
The Dutchman could take on fellow two-time world champion Adrian Lewis for a place in the quarter-finals if ‘Jackpot’ overcomes Darius Labanauskas on Sunday night, after the Lithuanian dumped out Raymond van Barneveld in round-two.
Nevertheless, speaking to Dan Dawson after his victory, Van Gerwen seemed unfazed by the prospect of facing Lewis in round-four. The pair’s last meeting at this tournament saw Van Gerwen whitewash Lewis 6-0 in the semi-finals in 2014, while MvG derailed Lewis’ bid for a third consecutive world title twelve months earlier.
“In the next round there’s probably a good chance that I’m going to play Adrian Lewis. He is a phenomenal player, he won this tournament twice but I think my confidence and my comfort at this moment, I’m stronger than whoever I am going to play,” Van Gerwen said.
“Adrian Lewis is a phenomenal player, he’s got loads of talent, but to be fair he doesn’t do a lot with his talent, he wastes his talent at the moment, but I still need to be sharp because out of the blue he could still stand there and throw his phenomenal game and you need to be aware of that,” the Dutchman added.
Elsewhere at the Alexandra Palace, Gary Anderson survived one match dart as he edged out Jermaine Wattimena in a seven-set epic. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ recovered from losing the opening set to establish a 3-1 cushion, but Wattimena levelled up proceedings after Anderson squandered five match darts in a dramatic sixth set.
‘The Machine Gun’ opened up a 2-0 lead in the final set and missed the bull for a spectacular 170 checkout which would have sealed victory, and Anderson won five of the next six legs to prevail in a thrilling tiebreak; averaging 97.33, crashing in eight maximums and boasting a 39% checkout success rate.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Daryl Gurney became the latest big-name to exit the tournament as he was beaten 4-3 by last year’s semi-finalist Jamie Lewis. Gurney missed five darts to win the opening set and ‘Fireball’ opened up a two-set advantage, before squandering four darts to lead 3-0.
The Welshman regained his two-set buffer with an impressive fourth set display, but Gurney won six of the next seven legs to force a deciding-set, taking out finishes of 160 and 84 en route. The Northern Irishman led 2-0 in the decider but missed one match dart at D16, before Lewis rattled off four straight legs in 14, 14, 16 and 14 darts to triumph.
Lewis will take on Dave Chisnall for a place in the quarter-finals, after the St Helen’s star breezed past Kim Huybrechts in straight sets. ‘The Hurricane’ was unable to replicate the performance that saw him whitewash Swedish qualifier Daniel Larsson in nine straight legs in round-two, and Chisnall was clinical.
The 12th seed edged a tight opening set 3-2, before converting a nerveless 110 checkout to seal the second in a deciding leg, after Huybrechts had spurned two darts to level. This proved decisive, as Chisnall won six of the next seven legs to prevail; taking out 138 and 105 finishes as he closed out victory with a 97.60 average and six 180’s.
Ryan Joyce continued his dream World Championship debut with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over a courageous Alan Norris. ‘Chuck’ took out a brilliant 152 checkout en route to winning the opening set with a 115 average, and the former Lakeside finalist soon doubled his lead.
Joyce took out a crucial 68 checkout in a third set decider, before edging the next two sets to secure the lead. Norris responded to force a seventh and deciding set, but Joyce- who recorded straight set wins over Anastasia Dobromyslova and Simon Whitlock earlier in the tournament, held his nerve to become the first player through to the last 16.
Finally, Ryan Searle followed up his second-round victory over seventh seed Mensur Suljovic with a convincing 4-1 win over William O’Connor in Saturday evening’s curtain-raiser, to set up a potential tussle with Michael Smith in the last 16.
O’Connor claimed a scrappy opening set despite averaging a poultry 81, but Searle improved after the interval and reeled off four successive sets to triumph with an 89.40 average, four maximums and a 43% success rate on the doubles, as O’Connor- who spurned 20 darts at double- imploded in the latter stages of the contest.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Saturday December 22
Ryan Joyce 4-3 Alan Norris (R3)
Dave Chisnall 4-0 Kim Huybrechts (R3)
Jamie Lewis 4-3 Daryl Gurney (R3)
Ryan Searle 4-1 William O’Connor (R3)
Gary Anderson 4-3 Jermaine Wattimena (R3)
Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Max Hopp (R3)
Sunday December 23
Afternoon Session (1230)
Vincent Van der Voort v Chris Dobey (R3)
Brendan Dolan v Mervyn King (R3)
James Wade v Keegan Brown (R3)
Evening Session (1900)
Adrian Lewis v Darius Labanauskas (R3)
Nathan Aspinall v Kyle Anderson (R3)
Rob Cross v Cristo Reyes (R3)