VAN GERWEN ENJOYS WHITEWASH AS LIM WIRES HISTORIC NINE-DART ATTEMPT
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN produced a William Hill World Darts Championship whitewash of James Wilson on Friday night as Paul Lim missed double 12 for a sensational nine-dart finish during his defeat to Gary Anderson. Beside van Gerwen progressed to the third round Gerwyn Price, Vincent van der Voort, Dimitri van den Bergh, Mensur Suljovic and Gary Anderson.
Second Round - Best of seven sets
Gerwyn Price 4-1 Ian White
(3-2, 3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
GERWYN PRICE reached the last 16 of the William Hill World Darts Championship for the first time with an authoritative 4-1 victory over Ian White on Friday afternoon.
The Welshman had never won past the first round at Alexandra Palace before this year, but was by far the more consistent player as he averaged 96.93 and hit seven 180s.
White showed flashes of form but missed doubles at crucial times, and Price was on hand on almost every occasion to capitalise and become the first man to make it into the last 16.
Price settled immediately with a 102 checkout ending a 15-darter, despite a bounce out causing him to throw just 23 points with his first visit of the tie.
Checkouts of 71 and 114 gave Price the set, and he doubled his lead despite White checking out 151 in the second set, with the Welshman again taking the crucial fifth leg.
Price hit six perfect darts during the third set, but lost that leg and then the set as White hit back, but it was only a temporary reprieve as the Welshman took the fourth 3-1 to regain his cushion.
The fifth went a similar way as White did manage a 13-darter, but Price took out 86 and 97 to deservedly take his place in the third round against either hot favourite Michael van Gerwen or James Wilson.
"I thought I started off pretty slowly and Ian came out of the blocks flying," said Price. "In the first set I just had to dig in, my aim was to win the first set and I did that.
"I played a little bit better in the second set, and put more pressure on him and I was comfortable after two sets.
"I thought my scoring was average, not as good as my last game, but my checking out was better so that helps.
"The maximums are good but it's the scores in between you've got to keep consistent. It's pointless hitting a 180 and then 41, you've got to back it up."
After failing to progress beyond round one previously, Price says the pressure is now off him, and joked about his preferred opponent with defending champion Van Gerwen possibly lying in wait.
"I've been bombed out in the first round for the last three years and put myself under pressure for the first round," added Price.
"But I got through that, I didn't play so well today but it was just getting through the game and I did that.
"All the pressure was off me in this game as I'd never got through my first game here so, now I just hope Michael loses!"
Vincent van der Voort 4-0 Steve Beaton
(3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 3-2)
VINCENT VAN DER VOORT has still not dropped a set in this year's William Hill World Championship after romping to a 4-0 win over Steve Beaton in the second round.
The rapid-fire Dutchman banked his best-ever average in the tournament with 101.17, coupled with seven 180s, proving far too heavy for Beaton to handle.
Former Lakeside Champion Beaton could manage just five legs in the match as he struggled with his finishing, missing 12 darts at a double throughout the contest.
A 12-darter in the opening leg with a 129 checkout set the tone for Van der Voort, who has arrived at Alexandra Palace in phenomenal form after finally finding a solution to his career-threatening back problems.
The big scores and quality checkouts continued as he dropped just one leg in taking the first two sets, and even when Beaton started a leg with six perfect darts, Van der Voort hit back-to-back 180s himself and then stepped in for a 12-darter.
Beaton was more competitive in the final two sets when forcing each one to a decider, but each time Van der Voort upped his game to power through to the last 16 in some style.
"After the first match I thought I was in good shape but you need to continue - if the next match is 74 average it doesn't count for anything," said Van der Voort.
"It's a really good win - I put Steve under pressure from start to finish so I'm a happy man.
"I think I calmed down after two sets, I was at my best but it's hard to keep that level up. I knew I was in good shape but I just had to keep it going.
"On this stage it's probably the best I've ever played."
Jan Dekker 2-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
(0-3, 3-1, 1-3, 1-3, 3-1, 0-3)
DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH continued his great William Hill World Darts Championship run as he defeated Jan Dekker 4-2 to make the last 16 of the tournament.
World Youth Champion Van den Bergh enjoyed a landmark win over Stephen Bunting in the first round but as fluid as that was, this win over Dekker showed that the youngster can also grind out a victory.
Dekker actually averaged three points more than his opponent but the usually reliable double hitter encountered some trouble finding the outer ring on this occasion, while Van den Bergh flourished.
The Belgian also hit six 180s to Dekker's one and took out three-figure checkouts of 108 and 126 in a crucial third set.
Van den Bergh built on that lead by taking the fourth relatively easily, but he could not complete the win as Dekker pulled out a break of throw followed by a 74 finish to extend the match by claiming set five.
Van den Bergh had been the better player though, and ended the match how he started it by racing through the set 3-0 to book a last 16 date with Mensur Suljovic or Robert Thornton.
"This is fantastic," said the Belgian. "It's the first time ever in my career I've got this far so honestly it's amazing.
"I'll take that win. It's a fantastic win because anything could happen and I'm so happy that I'm the winner of that game.
"I need to keep calm but I've got to be honest; it was harder than I thought it was, it was very hard.
"I don't mind who I play next. It's my game, my focus, my rhythm every game and every round. All of a sudden my game up on the stage can be as good as it is on the floor."
Mensur Suljovic 4-2 Robert Thornton
(1-3, 3-0, 1-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)
MENSUR SULJOVIC had to dig deep to see-off Robert Thornton 4-2 in their second round encounter at the William Hill World Darts Championship.
The fifth seed had to come from behind twice and won the last three sets all by a deciding fifth leg as he showed tremendous fighting qualities and pressure finishing power.
Thornton averaged three points more and had five 180s to Suljovic's one but these games are decided by fine margins and on the pressure finishes the Austrian just had the edge.
The Scot cleaned up the first set handily with tops doing the damage on all three finishes, including a 111 outshot as the highlight.
The response from Suljovic was emphatic with a 116 checkout for an early break and a 13-darter as he took set two by a 3-0 scoreline, only for Thornton to respond again to push ahead 2-1 in sets.
From then on the match really tightened up with each set going the distance - Suljovic struck firstly by hitting legs of 14 and 13 darts in consecutive legs to lead 2-1 in the fourth as he levelled.
Thornton missed three darts for the crucial fifth set, and repeated the mistake in the sixth - narrowly missing the bull on what would have been a defiant 121 finish.
Instead, Suljovic stepped up and took out the very same 121 on the middle double to move through to a last 16 tie with World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh.
"It's a perfect feeling," said Suljovic. "It was a very hard game.
"Robert played well, every time he missed he came back stronger - it was a hard game.
"I'm happy to go through. In the first round I was very nervous but in the second round I was feeling good so everything is OK. This crowd is brilliant here."
Gary Anderson 4:1 Paul Lim
(3-0, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0, 3-2)
GARY ANDERSON'S comfortable 4-1 second round win at the William Hill World Darts Championship over Paul Lim was almost overshadowed as the 63-year-old came within a whisker of hitting another nine-darter.
Anderson was not in his best form but still averaged almost 98 and hit four 180s, but Lim hit six maximums and came so close to adding to his historic first ever World Championship nine-darter back in 1990.
A dart falling just a hair's breadth inside the double 12 was all that stopped Lim from achieving a unique slice of history - 28 years after doing the same thing with his original nine-darter.
To make matters worse Lim actually lost that leg - as he did the first seven legs of the match - before getting on the board with a brilliant ten-darter as he pulled a set back by taking the third 3-1.
Two-time World Champion Anderson was always comfortable in front though, and took the fourth 3-0 before completing the victory to book a last 16 date with Steve West or Jermaine Wattimena.
Even Anderson - who was celebrating his 47th birthday - admitted after the match that Lim's performance deserved more credit than his own, admitting that he, like a capacity Alexandra Palace crowd, was willing in that nine-darter.
"Paul Lim is an absolute gentleman and still a classy, classy dart player," said Anderson. "If Paul had got the nine-darter it would have been the best Christmas present ever.
"For Paul to come from the BDO hitting the nine-darter to doing it on this stage would've been brilliant. I thought it was in and when he hit the trebles, I thought he's going to hit this.
"I could have stayed up there all night playing Paul Lim at darts. It was very hard for me tonight because I was playing one of my heroes - I was like a kid in a candy shop."
Lim - who defeated Kai Fan Leung and Mark Webster to reach round two - shows no signs of calling it a day and says he has a renewed desire to continue returning to the World Darts Championship.
"I can't breathe!" Lim said about his nine-darter. "I'm going to have nightmares tonight!
"Me and Gary were talking about a nine-darter in the players' room earlier on and I just wanted to do it because you can't do it all the time, it's a just a possibility of doing it.
"I'm enjoying myself a lot more and I'm honoured to have played Gary tonight, I just love this stage. I've had a fantastic week."
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 James Wilson
(3-0, 3-0, 3-0, 3-0)
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN looked in ominous form as he won every single leg to whitewash James Wilson 4-0 in their second round match at the William Hill World Darts Championship.
The defending champion showed why he is again the tournament favourite with a relentless display that resulted in a whopping 108.65 average - the eighth highest in tournament history.
Wilson did not play too badly with a 96 average, but that came as a result of him having just four darts at a double in the game.
Van Gerwen was unstoppable though, taking out shots of 164 and 142 along the way to winning all 12 legs played as he sent out a big message that he is again the man to beat.
"I started off really well," said Van Gerwen. "I had some fantastic finishing and some high scoring.
"James played really well at certain points as well but you've got to keep performing and you're not allowed to make any mistakes and I'm glad I didn't.
"At one point I saw my average was 111 and I wanted to keep it above 110, but the game at 3-0 was already won. What more can I ask of myself?
"I'm going to have a happy Christmas now and prepare myself for the last 16 - I feel good."
Van Gerwen says that although he was not totally aiming for the whitewash, he focuses on winning every single leg that he plays in regardless of the scoreline.
"You're here to win, here to win your leg, your game, your set, the tournament," he added. "The only thing that should be in your mind should be to win, it doesn't matter what you have to do for it.
"I think I did everything right at the right moments, hitting 140 or a 180 - it's all about not making mistakes and I've not been making them for some time now, hopefully I can play like that for the rest of the tournament."
Statistics - Second Round, Afternoon
Statistics - Second Round, Evening