Price survives Huybrechts scare in sudden-death thriller
Gerwyn Price survived a huge scare against Kim Huybrechts, coming through a sudden-death leg to win a classic as the William Hill World Darts Championship returned on Monday.
Following the Christmas break, the world's biggest darts tournament resumed with five third round ties, as Price eventually won a gripping contest 4-3 to continue his defence of the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Price, who came through a sudden-death leg against Brendan Dolan at the same stage of last year's event, landed five of the game's eight ton-plus checkouts but was left thankful for Huybrechts' missed doubles in the deciding set.
Huybrechts missed eight doubles across three legs to break the Price throw in the last set, before the Welshman held his nerve to win the final leg.
Having come through the game of the tournament so far, Dirk van Duijvenbode awaits Price in the last 16.
"That was tough; Kim was tough and the crowd were tough," said a relieved Price.
"It was a nip and tuck game, thankfully that double top went in at the end.
"It was one of those games you just have to get through.
"I'm never out until the last dart goes in, I stuck in right to the end when I was under a lot of pressure.
"When that type of game happens, I come out on top."
Van Duijvenbode also came through an epic to reach the fourth round, fighting back from 3-0 down to beat Ross Smith 4-3.
Last year's quarter-finalist Van Duijvenbode looked destined for a third round exit as he trailed 3-0 in sets before embarking on a remarkable comeback.
After Smith was unable to take out 66 to wrap up a 4-0 win, the Dutchman turned the tie on its head, holding his nerve on 57 to win the set four decider, before breezing the fifth set 3-0 to pile the pressure on.
Van Duijvenbode continued his charge, winning six of the last eight legs to wrap up victory.
"I think I showed today that I am never beaten," said Van Duijvenbode.
"In the first three sets I felt like I had big weights on my shoulders and it was stopping me playing my game.
"After I went 3-0 down I got rid of that feeling and I started playing how I normally do and I started flowing."
Jonny Clayton reached the last 16 for the first time with a comprehensive 4-0 whitewash of Gabriel Clemens, setting up a crunch clash with Michael Smith.
Clayton once again lived up to his billing as a title contender with a second successive average over 100 to make light work of Clemens, who knocked out Peter Wright in last year's third round.
World number nine Smith impressed in a 4-2 defeat of William O'Connor, firing in ten 180s and four ton-plus checkouts.
After a slow start saw him drop the opening set, former finalist Smith reeled off nine of the next 12 legs to take control of the contest.
O'Connor displayed his trademark resilience in winning the fifth set and forced a deciding leg in the sixth, but an opening 180 visit from Smith set him on his way to closing out victory which he finally achieved with his sixth match dart.
Surprise package Raymond Smith continued his incredible run with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Florian Hempel.
Both Smith and Hempel came into the contest on the back of knocking out seeds Devon Petersen and Dimitri Van den Bergh in the second round, but it was Smith who maintained his level of performance in round three.
The Australian was at his consistent best as he proved too strong for a below-par Hempel to set up a meeting with either Mervyn King or Steve Lennon.
James Wade received a bye to the last 16 following Vincent van der Voort's withdrawal from the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of his their third round match.
Tuesday will see six further third round ties played across two sessions, with Joe Cullen and Ryan Searle headlining the afternoon action.
The evening session will see three former World Champions in action, as Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross return to the stage.
Statistics - Third Round
|87.66||3||9/26||Hempel ||1:4||Ray Smith||94.79||4||14/36|
Statistics - Third Round