Michael van Gerwen produced a stunning display to defeat Adrian Lewis in a battle of the two-time world champions, whilst Gary Anderson sneaked past Chris Dobey in a seven-set epic on another thrilling day of darts at the Alexandra Palace.
As the World Championship resumed after the Christmas break, the third-round drew to a close, whilst tournament favourites Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson became the first players through to the quarter-finals.
Van Gerwen produced the performance of the tournament thus far to defeat Adrian Lewis 4-1. It was a closer contest than the scoreline suggests, with MvG winning 14-10 in legs, but ‘The Green Machine’ was in irrepressible form; averaging 108.08, piling in six maximums and converting 44% of his attempts at double.
Lewis acquitted himself superbly; averaging 101.16, crashing in ten maximums and boasting an impressive 43% checkout success rate, but he was punished for a sluggish start, as Van Gerwen eased to the opening set with Lewis averaging just 89.
The world number one edged a high-quality second set with a 13-darter in the decider, but Lewis halved the deficit after Van Gerwen incredibly spurned SIX darts for a three-set lead. ‘Jackpot’ then led 2-1 in the fourth set and appeared poised to level the contest, but the Dutchman fired in consecutive 11-dart legs to restore his two-set cushion.
The fifth set followed a similar pattern. Lewis was throwing with real confidence and fluency as he led 2-1, but Van Gerwen delivered when it mattered. He forced a fifth and final leg in the set with a classy 12-dart hold, before following up his sixth 180 with a magnificent 11-dart leg to round-off a wonderful victory.
Elsewhere, Gary Anderson edged out Chris Dobey in a pulsating seven-set tiebreak in the game of the tournament thus far. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ survived one match dart in his epic third-round win against Jermaine Wattimena and he was pushed all the way by an inspired Dobey, who averaged 100.83 and crashed in an incredible fifteen maximums.
Anderson and his protégé Dobey fired in a staggering 28 maximums between them in a game littered with quality, but Anderson had to fight back from 2-0 down, after Dobey fired in a sublime 11-darter to seal the second set.
Anderson stormed back by clinching sets three and four to level up proceedings, and the Scot established a 2-0 lead in the fifth as he closed in on a third successive set. However, ‘Hollywood’ reeled off three straight legs in 14, 13 and 11 darts to lead 3-2 and heap the pressure back on Anderson.
The sixth set also went all the way, but Anderson held his nerve to complete a 13-dart hold and send the match to a seventh and deciding set. Dobey drew first blood in the decider with a majestic 148 finish for a 12-darter, before the pair exchanged two further 12-dart holds as Dobey led 2-1.
Nevertheless, Anderson sank D6 to force a tiebreak and he secured a crucial break of throw on tops after Dobey squandered three clear darts at a double. The fourth seed almost handed Dobey a reprieve after missing three match darts moments later, but he returned to pin D6 with his last dart in hand to progress in a classic.
Earlier in the day, Michael Smith fought back from 2-1 down to defeat John Henderson and set up a clash with Ryan Searle for a place in the quarter-finals. ‘Hendo’ took out three ton-plus finishes and landed eight maximums, but Smith prevailed with a 100.47 average, nine 180’s and a 47% checkout success rate.
The tenth seed trailed 2-1 after Henderson converted two 116 checkouts and a set-saving 161 outshot. However, Smith stormed to the fourth set without reply in just 38 darts, before he rattled off six of the last seven legs to advance to the last 16.
Luke Humphries will take on world champion Rob Cross for a place in the quarter-finals after recording an emphatic 4-1 win over World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh. ‘Cool Hand Luke’ has topped the Development Tour rankings in each of the last two years and punished an indifferent display from the Belgian to prevail.
Van den Bergh lost the opening set in a decider despite posting 147 and 128 finishes, and Humphries won the next in a fifth and final leg to double his lead. ‘The Dream-Maker’ halved the deficit by winning the third without reply, but Humphries won six of the next seven legs to triumph with an 89.64 average, two 180’s and 45% on the doubles.
Devon Petersen continued his magical run at this year’s World Championship with a 4-2 win over Steve West in round-three. ‘The African Warrior’ knew that victory would secure his 2019 PDC Tour Card, and he produced a clinical display to set up a clash with Nathan Aspinall for a place in the last eight.
West breezed through the opening set 3-0, but Petersen converted finishes of 139, 127 and 120 to win the next two sets. West levelled after winning set four without reply, but Petersen clinched the fifth after West missed one dart at tops, and the 22nd seed then spurned five more at tops to stay alive in set six, as Petersen sealed the win via D8.
Benito van de Pas defeated Toni Alcinas 4-2 in a scrappy affair to set up a fourth-round tie against Brendan Dolan. ‘Big Ben’ has slipped to 30th in the world after enduring an awful year on the circuit, but he landed three huge ton-plus finishes en route to victory.
Van de Pas raced into a two-set lead, but was punished for missed doubles as Alcinas restored parity at two sets apiece. However, with the fifth set poised at 2-2, Van de Pas converted a nerveless 149 finish to lead 3-2. The Dutchman, who also took out 160 earlier in the match, then produced a dazzling 151 kill in the penultimate leg to triumph.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC