BARNEY EDGES OUT CAVEN IN WILLIAM HILL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP THRILLER
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD defeated Jamie Caven 4-3 for the second successive year at the William Hill World Darts Championship as he secured a third round spot on Monday afternoon alongside Michael Smith and Vincent van der Voort.
Van Barneveld followed up his imperious first round victory over Rowby-John Rodriguez with another strong performance as he moves through to play Adrian Lewis in a tasty last 16 contest.
The Dutchman eased to the first set but it was far from plain sailing from then on, with the five-time World Champion going ahead twice more only to see Caven hit back to level before van Barneveld pulled out all the stops to win the deciding set.
Caven actually edged the averages and the checkout percentages and won 15 legs to his opponent's 14, but the five time World Champion hit the right shots at the right time to make it through, sealing victory by finishing 90 on the bullseye.
"It was a different game to last year but all credit to Jamie - he's such a fantastic player, he never gives in and you always know that if you give him a chance he'll be in there firing back at you," said van Barneveld. "In the first set I was quite comfortable, I went into the break feeling good but then suddenly then he came back hitting 12, 12,15 darters and I just couldn't believe it. I'm just so happy and so pleased to be in the last 16 now, but all credit to Jamie, he's so fantastic and he deserved more but I'm glad I'm through of course, and I'm happy. It should be a good game next, I always enjoy playing Adrian, he's fast and he's furious and that suits my game so I'll be looking forward to that in the next round and we'll see how that goes."
Michael Smith showed his newfound maturity to overcome a slow start and catalogue of missed doubles to come from two sets down to win four in a row and secure a 4-2 victory over Brendan Dolan.
The former World Youth Champion quickly slipped 2-0 down as he struggled badly with his doubles - hitting just one of 16 attempts in those first two sets - before he finally found his range to win the next four sets with 12 legs out of 14.
Smith hit ten 180s to still averaged 98.9 despite missing 29 doubles in total, and checked out 104, 121 and 153 when he finally warmed up on his finishing, while he also started two legs with six perfect darts in his quest for a nine-darter.
The St Helens thrower showed some of the form that saw him knock out Phil Taylor last year in the final four sets, as he set up a third round clash with either James Wade or Stephen Bunting in the next round on Tuesday.
"I'm a different player now to what I have been, I've shown that in my last two games here," said Smith. "There's no point showing that at the World Championship then showing up to the next tournament and acting like a kid again. The World Championship has brought out the emotional side of me but also the calm side of me when I'm under pressure. I was acting like a spoilt kid and I knew it was ruining my chances. If I keep quiet and keep calm like I've done in my past two games I'll do well - I'm satisfied with my performances so far. I can't afford to act like a kid again because I'm not working for myself anymore - I'm working for my son and for his future, so I've got to put the hours in."
Vincent van der Voort made quick work of German Max Hopp as he secured a 4-0 victory in the second round of the William Hill World Darts Championship to book a last 16 tie against Dean Winstanley.
After putting out Mervyn King in the first round, youngster Hopp was fancying another upset against the quick-throwing Dutchman, and the German hit the first 180 of the match in the opening set to level it at 1-1, but van der Voort's response was a 105 checkout on double 16 as he claimed the set.
Van der Voort also took out 77, 125 and 118 in the next, 82 and 93 in the third and 77 in the last to seal a comprehensive victory and a place in the last 16.
"It was a great win," said van der Voort. "It was a poor match really but I won it so I'm happy to be through to the next round and I can go and relax now and prepare for tomorrow. In the second set I had those two ton-plus finishes that really hurt him and he never came back, and he never really played like he can in the match.
"It doesn't matter how you play, you just need to get through, but I'll need to play better in the next round. Dean is a great player and he's a fighter as well. I'll have to play better than today to beat him but I'll be up for it."