TAYLOR SEES OFF WEBSTER CHALLENGE AS LEWIS & WINSTANLEY EDGE THROUGH
PHIL TAYLOR powered into the last 16 of the William Hill World Darts Championship with a straight sets win over Mark Webster on Sunday night, but Adrian Lewis and Dean Winstanley survived scares before progressing to the third round.
Webster had knocked out Taylor at Alexandra Palace four years ago, but the 16-time World Champion looked refreshed following his Christmas break, and averaged 101.92 as he cruised into the third round.
Although the left-hander had a chance to take set two, his missed opportunity allowed Taylor in for a 2-0 lead before the number two seed took six of the next seven legs to progress.
It was more his consistent scoring that did the damage, with Taylor hitting 14 scores of 140 or more and more often than not starting the leg with a heavy scoring to put Webster under instant pressure - resulting in the Welshman winning just four legs in the match.
Two of those came with brilliant finishes, a 117 giving him a break and a ray of hope of winning the second set, and a 125 using a combination of bull, outer bull and another bull to win his only leg of the third set.
Taylor responded to both by winning the set, and he raced through the fourth set 3-0 to seal victory in just over 38 minutes and book a last 16 encounter with Belgium's Kim Huybrechts.
"I thought it was a good game," said Taylor. "Mark put me under prssure at times when he hit the right shots at the right time, but he missed a few crucial shots and let me in - especially at the end of te second set. If you can win a set it can change everything straight away, if Mark had won that second set then it could have all been different - all of a sudden he's back in the game and I'd have a real match on my hands. I'm feeling great, I've had lots of practice, I've had lots of rest and I've done everything right. My preparation has been spot-on, you have to prepare right if you want to win this thing and I've done everything I can. It should be a cracking match against Kim, he's a great player, but I'm ready for him."
It was far from easy for double World Champion Adrian Lewis though, as Keegan Brown proved he belongs on the big stage with a determined performance full of promise for the future as he pushed the number three all the way in a 4-2 defeat.
Lewis bossed the scoring charts throughout the match but a tenacious Brown showed he truly belongs on the big stage as time after time he stepped in with crucial doubles, forcing the UK Open champion to produce some of his best darts to progress.
Lewis averaged just over 100 with eight 180s and 24 140-plus scores, but it could have been higher had he taken more than 14 of his 40 shots at a double, with Brown's 14 doubles from 33 attempts complementing a 93 average.
After defeat John Part in the opening match of the tournament, Brown sensed another upset as he took out 124 on the bull to win the first set, and from there it was a battle all the way as every remaining set went the full five legs.
Brown also led 2-1, but Lewis levelled the game with a brilliant 134 finish to take the fourth set - hitting treble 18 and two double tops - before a ten-darter helped him to take the fifth and a 122 checkout secured victory in set six.
"You never give in, and I think that's the key to a champion," said Lewis, who will face either Raymond van Barneveld or Jamie Caven in the third round. Keegan's a young lad coming through and he played fantastic; he showed a lot of bottle. I had to dig in really deep there at the end, I just had to keep going at him and I'm relieved to get through that one."
Dean Winstanley almost blew a 2-0 lead as he had to eventually come through a seventh set tie-break to edge out Darren Webster 4-3 as he reached the last 16 at Alexandra Palace for the first time.
Winstanley cruised into a two-set lead and also led 2-0 in the third set before the Norfolk ace - a former quarter-finalist - fought back superbly to win three successive sets and turn the match on its head.
Yorkshireman Winstanley showed his desire by stemming the tide and winning the sixth set to stay in the match, and in a tense finale he produced the goods with three successive legs giving him the deciding set 4-2 in a tie-break.
Winstanley hit seven 180s, 24 140s and averaged 92, a point less than Webster, but had a much better checkout percentage as he landed 45 percent of his doubles to book a last 16 tie with either Vincent van der Voort on Max Hopp.
"Darren did what he always does - he never gives in," said Winstanley. "I knew that even though I was two sets up it wasn't over, I knew he'd come back at me and he did. He's like a Yorkshire Terrier who just wouldn't let go, and when it went to 2-2 in the final set I knew I had to give everything to try and win it, and that's what I managed to do. I always seem to let players back in when I should be winning but I just did enough in the end, I'm through, and I can move on now. I'm in the last 16 for the first time so who says I can't go all the way now!"