PDC World Championship - Report 10th Day, Evening

A STUNNING nine-dart finish from Adrian Lewis was not enough to help him defeat Raymond van Barneveld in a third round thriller at the William Hill World Darts Championship on Tuesday, as Phil Taylor and Stephen Bunting joined him in the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace.

Lewis landed his second World Championship nine-darter - and his third on television - with a brilliant perfect leg to claim the deciding leg of the opening set against van Barneveld.
Having also landed a nine-darter in the 2011 final as he claimed the title, Lewis matched that achievement with two 180s and a 141 finish of treble 20, treble 19 and double 12. However, he was left to rue one missed match dart - at double seven for a 4-2 triumph - as van Barneveld firstly saved the game by taking the sixth set before winning the decider 3-1 to remain on course for his sixth World Championship title.

"What a game," said van Barneveld. "The first set was probably the best I've played so far - when Adie got the nine-darter I was just thinking I had to hold on. When it went to 3-3 I had to keep believing and I saw Adie was struggling a bit with his trebles so I needed one big push then. I just had to hang on, had to keep believing and fighting because you just can't ever give up. I just had to wait for my chance and when it finally came in that last set then I knew I had to take it. But it was such a hard match, these matches don't get any easier and I seem to be involved in more and more tough matches."

The nine-darter sees Lewis in line for a 10,000 pound bonus, while sponsors William Hill will now donate 9,000 pound each to the PDC's official charity, Haven House Children's Hospice, and Parkinson's UK, who are supported by Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark.

Lewis, though, admitted: "I'm gutted. I hit the nine-darter to win the first set and then came back on and had another nine-darter in the break, and then I started panicking a bit. I'd hit two back-to-back and thought I could turn him over 4-0 and it didn't happen. It's my own fault for missing shots - I missed the 88 to win the match and wired double seven, and I'm just disappointed with myself. "I started panicking around doubles where normally I'm a lot more fluent on them. I'm just annoyed - I thought this was my year."

Phil Taylor's bid to win a 17th World Championship continued as he hit back from 3-2 down to defeat Kim Huybrechts in a seven-set thriller.
Taylor set up a last eight clash with Vincent van der Voort after survivng an extreme test from Huybrechts, who led 3-2 in sets and left waiting on 36 in the sixth set's decider as the Stoke great levelled before showing his class in the final set. The 16-time World Champion hit four 180s and averaged 102.52 despite using a new set of darts for the first time in competition - following the addition of an extra groove at the rear of his barrel - but was pushed all the way by the Belgian, who averaged 96.93 and took out some pressure checkouts against his illustrious opponent.

"I'm speechless - I had to fight all the way in that one," said Taylor. "I'm sure it was a good game to watch, and although I struggled at times I never thought I was going out. The 96 in the last set was a massive shot, that was the one that really did all the damage. I'm through and I can go prepare for Vincent van der Voort because he's a very good player."

Huybrechts added: "I felt like I was the better player, I played really well. I played my hardest and gave Phil a good game but it just wasn't enough. I'll keep trying hard, and I'm proud and happy that I played really well. Phil's been up there many times before and it's new to me but I gave it a really good go and I pushed him all the way to the end. I never got a shot to win it but I kept going all the way and I'll keep going and working hard to get better."

Stephen Bunting was the winner in the night's final third round game, which almost proved as dramatic as the preceding two as Michael Smith fought back from three sets down to almost force a decider, before the Lakeside Champion progressed.
Smith took out five ton-plus finishes, including checkouts of 170 and 161, and also landed eight 180s in a thriller, but left himself too much to do as Bunting averaged 102.30.

"I knew I had to get out of the blocks pretty fast and I did that," admitted Bunting. "I got the lead but I knew Michael is a never-say-die player - I watched his game against Brendan Dolan when he was two sets up and let it slip and I had it in the back of my mind just not to do the same. Michael is a really good friend and I'm really sad to see him go home but at the same time I'm really happy to be in the quarter-finals."
He added: "I know I've got the game to win this title, and if I bring my best darts to the big stage I can beat anyone, I've proved it this year so I know I can do it, and to win the PDC World Championship would be the ultimate in darts. It's always been a dream to be here and to be in the quarter-finals is amazing."

Following a break for New Year's Eve, the tournament resumes on Thursday January 1 with the two quarter-finals from the top half of the draw, with reigning champion Michael van Gerwen playing Robert Thornton before former finalists Peter Wright and Gary Anderson clash in an all-Scottish battle.
Taylor's quarter-final with Vincent van der Voort kicks off the action on Friday January 2, before van Barneveld and Bunting face off for a place in the semi-finals.

Taylor remains the favourite to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy on January 4, with sponsors William Hill making him 11/8 to win his 17th World Championship title.
Van Gerwen is a 9/4 chance to retain his title, with world number four Anderson the 9/2 third favourite and Bunting now 8/1 to cap his debut at Alexandra Palace with glory.
Van Barneveld is rated at 11/1 to win a sixth World Championship title, with 2014 runner-up Wright 16/1, former UK Open champion Thornton a 33/1 chance and van der Voort the 50/1 outsider.

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