A fired-up Adrian Lewis came through a straight shoot-out with Jim Williams to book his place in the knock-out stages of the 2019 Grand Slam on Tuesday, as Ian White, Robert Thornton and Darren Webster were among the other players to progress.
Two-time World Champion Lewis was staring defeat in the face as Welsh ace Williams – the BDO World Trophy champion – opened up a 3-1 lead in their winner-takes-all Group A contest.
However, Lewis produced checkouts of 86 and 75 to level up, punishing Williams for failing to give himself a dart at a double when needing 90 in leg seven before sealing the win with a nerveless 113 checkout.
“I’m really pleased,” said Lewis. “I let him in early on and I was trying too hard but I relaxed and gave it everything I’d got.
“I’ve only won one game this year on TV but I’ve put so much work in. The longer distance in the second round will suit me and we’ll see where my game’s at.
“I’ve missed the rivalry with everybody, I’ve been out of sorts now for three or four years.
“I got sick of losing and thought ‘this is not going to keep happening to me’.”
Lewis joined Michael van Gerwen in progressing from Group A, with the Dutchman turning on the style to claim a third straight win of the round-robin phase.
World Champion Van Gerwen followed up victories over Williams and Lewis with his best performance of the week so far at the Aldersley Leisure Village, averaging 111.38 to see off Smith.
Kent’s Smith had won the pair’s last meeting at October’s European Championship, but had no answer to Van Gerwen’s early three-leg blitz before the world number one completed a commanding win.
“I’m feeling really good,” said Van Gerwen. “I can’t complain with a 111 average and I’m full of confidence going into the next round.
“I had two poor legs but the rest was great because Ross is a good player. I feel good so far and I can look forward to the next game on Thursday.”
Van Gerwen now plays Ian White in round two on Thursday after the Stoke ace secured progression from the group stage for the first time with a 5-4 defeat of Wesley Harms in their Group B decider.
White led 3-0 before Harms levelled, and the Dutchman took the game to a ninth leg in which the pair landed 180s before White pinned double eight to progress.
James Wade went through alongside White from Group B despite losing 5-4 to Steve Lennon, who exits the tournament on Leg Difference.
Wade took an early 3-0 lead, the requisite three legs which meant he could not be overtaken by the Irishman.
Lennon hit back with four in a row, and though Wade forced a deciding leg the Irish ace landed double 14 for the win.
Reigning champion Gerwyn Price stormed into the second round with a superb 5-2 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh, securing top spot in Group C.
“I’m very relieved and once I got to four legs I knew I was through but I wanted to get the win to top the group,” said Price.
“I was a bit edgy because I knew I had to win still and I didn’t make it easy but I took my opportunity to finish the game off in the end.
“In my first two games I didn’t play as well as I could but I let myself go today and I was back to my old self. I’m enjoying it and hopefully I can go on and defend my title now.”
Robert Thornton joined Price in qualifying from Group C as the former Wolverhampton finalist continued his renaissance with a 5-3 win over Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki.
Darren Webster secured qualification from Group D alongside Gary Anderson with a 5-4 win over the Scot, averaging 100.86 as both players progress to the last 16.
“I’ve done a job tonight and I’m proud of myself,” said Webster. “I knew I needed to win two legs so once I did that I could relax and it was great to win.
“I never give up and to beat Gary up there is great – it will give me a lot of confidence. I’ve been struggling for most of the year but my arm’s recovered now and I’m practising well. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
BDO debutant Dave Parletti ended the event with his first televised victory, defeating a below-par William O’Connor 5-2 to end the Irish star’s hopes in the other Group D tie.
Boylesports Grand Slam of Darts 2019 Results
Tuesday November 12
Groups A-D Final Matches
Ian White 5-4 Wesley Harms (B)
James Wade 4-5 Steve Lennon (B)
Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Ross Smith (A)
Robert Thornton 5-3 Mikuru Suzuki (C)
Gerwyn Price 5-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh (C)
William O’Connor 2-5 Dave Parletti (D)
Gary Anderson 4-5 Darren Webster (D)
Adrian Lewis 5-3 Jim Williams (A)