Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross crashed out on day two at the Ladbrokes Masters, as defending champion Peter Wright and newly crowned world champion Gerwyn Price kicked off their campaigns with victory.
Five-time Masters winner Van Gerwen was dumped out in the last 16 by Jonny Clayton for the second straight year in Milton Keynes, as the Dutchman was defeated in his first outing since relinquishing his world No 1 status.
The three-time world champion suffered a humbling 5-0 defeat to Dave Chisnall in the last eight at the World Championship, and he was punished for a lacklustre start against ‘The Ferret’.
Clayton forged an early 4-1 advantage, although Van Gerwen produced a trio of ton-plus checkouts as he aimed to complete the fightback, taking out finishes of 158, 150 and 148 to force a last-leg decider.
The Dutchman reeled off three consecutive legs from 9-6 down to force a decider, although Clayton had the advantage of throw which he utilised to magnificent effect, kicking off with back-to-back 180’s before wrapping up proceedings with a 14-darter.
Clayton will now take on seventh seed James Wade for a place in the semi-finals, after the nine-time major winner kicked off his 2021 campaign with a comprehensive 10-4 win over Chris Dobey, courtesy of a typically clinical display of doubling.
Fresh from reaching his fifth world final, Gary Anderson was another high-profile name to exit on Saturday evening at the Marshall Arena, as he succumbed 10-8 to a resurgent Adrian Lewis.
The two-time world champion edged past Michael Smith in an exhilarating first round tussle, and he produced another impressive performance to derail ‘The Flying Scotsman’, averaging 98.56 and converting 50% of his attempts at double to triumph.
Lewis’ reward for that victory is a quarter-final showdown against newly crowned world champion Gerwyn Price, who kicked off his reign as world No 1 with an emphatic 10-3 success against Joe Cullen.
‘The iceman’ was coolness personified at the Marshall Arena, averaging 104.37, firing in five maximums and producing a stunning mid-match burst which featured three successive 11-dart legs.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright defied nearly a 106 average from Simon Whitlock to kick off his Masters defence with a dramatic 10-8 victory over the Australian.
‘The Wizard’ enjoyed a fine 2020 which included three consecutive televised wins over Van Gerwen, and he threatened a notable win over Snakebite, averaging 105.9 while registering six 180’s, but having missed two darts to force a deciding leg, he was made to pay by the world No 3.
Wright will now take on sixth seed Dave Chisnall for a place in the last four, after Chisnall battled part Daryl Gurney in an absorbing last-leg thriller.
The 2016 finalist established a 6-3 cushion but surrendered that buffer, as Gurney landed a majestic 170 outshot en route to forcing a decider. However, with ‘Super Chin’ sat on double 16 for the match, Chisnall produced a skin-saving 74 checkout via double nine to progress.
Premier League runner-up Nathan Aspinall survived five match darts as he came through another 19-leg clash against Mensur Suljovic in Saturday’s afternoon session.
‘The Asp’ took proceedings all the way after Suljovic frittered away two match darts for a 10-7 success, and the Austrian fluffed his lines in a dramatic conclusion, as Aspinall escaped to prevail via double ten.
The world No 5 will play Mervyn King for a place in the semi-finals, after King continued his resurgence with a commanding 10-5 win over fourth seed Rob Cross. King averaged 101.64 and led 8-1 at one stage, before overcoming some late controversy to book his place in the last eight.
Image Credit: Chris Dean/PDC
2021 Ladbrokes Masters
Saturday January 30
Second Round x4
Mervyn King 10-5 Rob Cross
James Wade 10-4 Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall 10-9 Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall 10-9 Daryl Gurney
Second Round x4
Adrian Lewis 10-8 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 10-8 Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Joe Cullen
Jonny Clayton 10-9 Michael van Gerwen
Sunday January 31
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Mervyn King v Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price v Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Jonny Clayton v James Wade
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Price/Lewis v King/Aspinall
Clayton/Wade v Wright/Chisnall