REYES SEALS THIRD ROUND SPOT IN WILLIAM HILL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH PAINTER UPSET
CRISTO REYES created a piece of history as he became the first Spanish player to reach the last 16 of the William Hill World Darts Championship, coming from 3-1 down to defeat Kevin Painter 4-3 in a dramatic second round clash, while Kim Huybrechts and Andy Hamilton also moved through to round three on Sunday afternoon.
After coming through a field of 154 players in the Iberian Qualifier just to win a place at Alexandra Palace, Reyes defeated Christian Perez and number 13 seed Wes Newton on the opening night of the tournament before Christmas.
The Tenerife ace looked a long way from causing another upset as Painter moved 3-1 up in sets, but Reyes showed his nerve by winning the next two sets 3-2, before dominating the deciding set with three successive legs to earn a shock win and a third round clash with Gary Anderson.
Reyes sensed an upset as he took the first set. Despite Painter hitting two 180s in one leg Reyes checked out 66 and then held his nerve in the decider to win the set 3-2, but it all looked to be going wrong from there as the 2004 finalist won the next six legs on the spin.
Painter took the second set 3-1 and then took out 60 three times on the bounce to win the third 3-0, before Reyes eventually stopped the rot by winning the first leg of the fourth set.
Painter, though, answered with a 141 finish and went on to claim a third successive set as he opened up a 3-1 lead.
Reyes - who survived a sudden-death leg against Newton in the first round - again showed he can hold his nerve on the big stage as he bravely fought his way back, crucially winning the deciding leg of the fifth set when Painter left himself on 163 and unable to finish.
Painter took out 65 and 54 to go ahead in the sixth, but Reyes hit back to level an enthralling game at three sets all.
With the momentum going into the deciding set, Reyes hit two 180s in the first leg to break the throw of Painter, who also hit a maximum, before taking out 44 and then 72 in two darts to seal a famous victory.
"It's incredible, I'm speechless really," said Reyes. "I will always fight right until the end, even though I was 3-1 down I was always going to fight until the last dart. Until the referee calls the final shot I always think I can win, and until the last dart goes in I will always keep going - that's the way I always play and that won't change. We have flights booked for tonight so we'll have to go and try to change them now and try and book the hotel for an extra few days so I can stay here and prepare for the next match in a few days - but that's a happy thing for me to do."
Kim Huybrechts exacted revenge in kind on Ian White as he won a see-saw battle 4-3 in the second round - having lost by the same scoreline when the pair met at Alexandra Palace 12 months ago.
White won the first set before Huybrechts went 2-1 up, only to see the Stoke ace take seven legs in a row to lead 3-2.
Huybrechts, though, regained his stride to win the next two sets as he moves through to a third round clash with either Phil Taylor or Mark Webster.
There was hardly anything between the players, with both averaging just under 94 and winning 14 legs in total. White held the edge with ten 180s to Huybrechts' six and also had a better checkout percentage, but it was the Belgian who emerged victorious.
"It was not about revenge, it was all about today and about this match," said Huybrechts. "Of course I remember losing 4-3 last year, but I was not thinking about that up on the stage during this match. When I was losing 3-2 I knew I had to be a bit more aggressive, that's part of my game and how I deal with the nerves. Some players don't like to show their emotions too much but players like myself and Michael van Gerwen celebrate almost every leg. I'm a nervous player and I get a bit tight in the arm at times, so celebrating a double helps get rid of some of that tension - every leg is a leg closer to winning the match so I like to celebrate."
Andy Hamilton also came from behind to claim victory, recovering from a 2-1 defecit to produce a powerful finish as he overcame Kyle Anderson 4-2.
2012 runner-up Hamilton set up a third round clash with last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright with a trademark battling performance as he responded from going 2-1 behind by winning nine of the next 12 legs to storm through to another third round.
Hamilton's 90.06 average was just under below Anderson's, and the Australian also hit one more 180 with three to Hamilton's two, but it was the finishing power of Hamilton that proved to be the difference.
Hamilton finished almost 43 percent of his chances on doubles and took out 116 and four 80-plus outshots, and although Anderson took out a 156 he could not match the better consistency of the Stoke ace.
"It was tough game, I battled hard and I had to battle hard to win that one," said Hamilton. "That's how I win games - my games always seem to be hard work, I always fight hard and never give up. Peter Wright's a great player but I'm not scared of anyone really; it's all about me and my game. I'm just going to play my own game and let the result take care of itself."