Gary Anderson came from a set down to defeat Adrian Lewis in the clash of the multiple World Champions and…
Gary Anderson came from a set down to defeat Adrian Lewis in the clash of the multiple World Champions and seal a place in the Last 32 at Alexandra Palace on Thursday.
A repeat of the 2011 and 2016 World Championship finals began with Lewis taking the first set, but the Scotsman reeled off 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.
“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.
“I’m not going to lie, my heart’s not been in it for a long time. Peter Wright says it and gets away with it, I say it and get butchered for it.
“Over the last few months I’ve started to pick it up, I need to get back playing every weekend and back to normal.”
Anderson looked to have taken control when he broke the Lewis throw with a 116 checkout to lead 2-1 in the opening set, but a 96 checkout followed by a 180 helped Lewis turn it around to move ahead.
Anderson kept improving after a scrappy start to the contest 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 prevailing from an entertaining encounter against Ricky Evans in the afternoon session.
The former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner fended off a tenacious Evans to progress with a solid showing.
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 American ace Danny Lauby.
O’Connor started the match emphatically, averaging 106.3 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 left-hander redeemed himself with brilliant checkouts of 116 and 117 in the third set, which he clinched 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 in 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 impressive debut appearance at Ally Pally saw him brush aside Canada’s John Norman Jnr 3-1.
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 this year.
“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, meanwhile, suffered nightmare debut on the Ally Pally stage as he went down in straight sets to Dutchman Chris Landman.
Former Lakeside champion Mitchell struggled to settle and was punished for multiple missed doubles by fellow World Championship debutant Landman – who took the first eight legs of the match.
Mitchell avoided the prospect of a total whitewash by finally taking two legs in the third set, but it ultimately proved to be the last set as Landman pinned double top to win the all-important decider.
Landman, who posted an impressive sixty percent checkout success rate, will face Ian White in the Second Round on Sunday.
Ryan Meikle tasted victory on the sport’s biggest stage for the first time when he defeated German youngster Fabian Schmutzler in straight sets.
Sixteen-year-old Schmutzler, winner of two Development Tour titles, became the second youngest player to compete in the PDC 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.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Two Results
Thursday December 16
Steve Lennon 3-1 Madars Razma (R1)
Scott Mitchell 0-3 Chris Landman (R1)
Chas Barstow 3-1 John Norman Jnr (R1)
Daryl Gurney 3-1 Ricky Evans (R2)
William O’Connor 3-2 Danny Lauby (R1)
Ryan Meikle 3-0 Fabian Schmutzler (R1)
Ron Meulenkamp 3-0 Lisa Ashton (R1)
Gary Anderson 3-1 Adrian Lewis (R2)