Anderson defeats Lewis to advance on Day Two
Gary Anderson progressed to the third round of the William Hill World Darts Championship with victory over Adrian Lewis in a clash of two-time World Champions at Alexandra Palace on Thursday.
Lewis took the first set in the eagerly anticipated affair, which was repeat of the 2011 and 2016 finals, but the Scotsman won nine of the last ten legs to storm to victory.
Anderson, who reached his fifth Ally Pally final in last year's tournament, maintained an impressive record of never losing his first game in the sport's showpiece event.
"I started slowly but I got there in the end," said Anderson, the world number six.
"I've used new darts. They've been going great on the practice board and I started to get used to playing with them towards the end. I've got a lot of respect for Adrian and I knew I'd be in for a tough start.
"I'll take each game as it comes. I've not got any high hopes but I didn't last year and I got to the final again."
Anderson looked to have taken control when he broke his opponent's throw with a 116 finish to lead 2-1 in the opening set, but a 96 checkout followed by a 180 helped Lewis turn it around to lead.
Anderson kept improving after a scrappy start to the tie and won four straight legs to level before Lewis halted the charge with a classy 72 checkout.
That was to be the last leg Lewis would win however, as Anderson reeled off the next five legs with finishes of 85 and 92 helping him to a convincing success.
Daryl Gurney also made it safely through to round three after winning an entertaining encounter against Ricky Evans on Thursday afternoon.
The former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner fended off a tenacious Evans to progress with a solid performance.
Gurney sealed a 3-1 victory but only after Evans missed four darts to take the match to a deciding set, including one at the end of a 147 checkout attempt - having taken out 146 earlier in the game.
But it was Gurney who prevailed, with the aid of six maximums and an average of 95.90, to set up a last 32 meeting with Rob Cross, Raymond van Barneveld or Lourence Ilagan.
"I always expect tough matches against Ricky and that's exactly what I got," said Gurney.
"He probably should've won that last set but I think I deserved to win the match overall. I'm glad to be through. He is a tough opponent who has beaten me at the European Championship before so it is a very good start for me."
William O'Connor produced an eye-catching first round performance but had to survive a match dart in a thrilling affair against US talent Danny Lauby.
O'Connor started the match emphatically, averaging 106.29 in the opening set which he won 3-1.
Lauby won the first leg in set two but went on to miss darts to win each of the following three legs, allowing O'Connor to punish to double his lead.
The American redeemed himself with brilliant checkouts of 116 and 117 in the third set, which he won 3-1.
O'Connor moved to the brink of victory by taking the first two legs in set four but missed three match darts and Lauby roared back, winning the next three legs to level the tie.
The deciding set went all the way to a last-leg shoot-out and it was O'Connor who triumphed, landing tops after Lauby had missed a dart to win with what would have been his second 121 finish of a thrilling contest.
"I'm very happy with how I played but I think I need a new heart after that," said O'Connor, who takes on Glen Durrant in round two.
"I felt I could have run away with it but Danny came back at me and he played really well. It turned into a difficult game but I loved every minute of it.
"I won't be underestimating Glen. He's a champion and I will have to play at least as well as I did tonight to beat him."
Steve Lennon overcame Latvia's Madars Razma in a nervy encounter to progress to the second round on his fifth consecutive World Championship appearance.
The Irishman took out 120 in the first set, which he won 3-1, before adding a 136 finish in set two only to see his opponent clean up 85 and 80 to level the match.
But Lennon edged the next two sets 3-2 to move into the second round, where he will take on Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski on Friday afternoon.
"There were some nerves from both of us so I'm pleased to get the job done," said Lennon, who amassed seven 180s in the victory.
"It was a great experience to play in front of the fans again and getting a win made it even better but I will have to play better tomorrow."
Chas Barstow's debut appearance could not have gone much better as the Hampshire talent brushed aside Canada's John Norman Jnr with a 3-1 triumph.
Having qualified via the ProTour Order of Merit despite not holding a Tour Card, Barstow impressed in a comfortable success to set up a second round meeting with three time World Champion Michael van Gerwen.
"I've never experienced anything like that, I loved it," said Barstow, who has reached two Players Championship quarter-finals in 2021.
"I just wanted to get up there and prove myself and I'm so happy to have done that and got the win.
"I think I have got the game to compete with top players. I can score as well as anybody on my day and I'm looking forward to playing Michael van Gerwen, though I know I will have to play better against him."
Scott Mitchell suffered nightmare debut on the Ally Pally stage as he lost in straight sets to Dutchman Chris Landman in the first round.
Former Lakeside champion Mitchell struggled to settle and was punished by fellow World Championship debutant Landman, who won the first eight legs of the match.
Mitchell avoided the prospect of a total whitewash by finally taking a couple of legs in the third set, but it ultimately proved to be the last set as Landman pinned double top to win the all-important fifth leg.
Landman, who posted an impressive sixty percent checkout success rate, will face Ian White in the second round on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Meikle tasted victory on the Alexandra Palace stage for the first time in his career when he defeated German youngster Fabian Schmutzler in straight sets.
16-year-old Schmutzler, the winner of two Development Tour titles, became the second youngest player to compete at the World Championship but was unable to take a set on his debut.
Suffolk thrower Meikle landed three doubles from four attempts as he took the first set without dropping a leg.
He then doubled his lead by winning the second set 3-1 before sealing the win, clinching what proved to be the final set in a deciding leg.
Ron Meulenkamp also enjoyed a straight sets success as Lisa Ashton fell to her third successive defeat at Alexandra Palace.
The Dutchman punished Ashton for missing five darts to break to lead the first set 2-1 and never looked back, losing just one more leg on the way to victory.
Meulenkamp faces Michael Smith in the second round, while the result confirms Ashton must return to Qualifying School in January to retain her place on the Pro Tour.
The World Championship continues on Friday with a double session of first and second round action, as 2020 winner Peter Wright gets his campaign underway in his meeting with Meikle.
Statistics - First Round
Statistics - Second Round
Statistics - First Round
|89.30||5||9/27||Meikle ||3:0||Schmutzler ||89.14||3||3/9|
Statistics - Second Round