Gerwyn Price held his nerve in a sudden death leg to edge past Kim Huybrechts in a Third Round epic…
Gerwyn Price held his nerve in a sudden death leg to edge past Kim Huybrechts in a Third Round epic and keep his World Championship title defence alive.
The William Hill World Championship resumed on Monday following the three-day Christmas break, with five players progressing the Last 16 at Alexandra Palace.
Price, who came through a sudden-death shoot-out 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.
Price took the opening set without reply before Huybrechts wrapped up the second set 3-1 with a 147 checkout.
A 120 checkout in the deciding leg of the third set moved Huybrechts into the lead, but only for Price to take out 130 to claim the fourth in consecutive legs for parity.
Further finishes of 112 and 120 helped Price on the way to winning set five without reply to make it 3-2, but Huybrechts cleaned up 70 in the deciding leg of set six to send it all the way.
The first four legs were shared, forcing a tie break situation, and after the pair had exchanged words on stage, Huybrechts squandered eight doubles across three legs to break the Price throw, before the Welshman held his nerve in a tense sudden death leg.
“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.
“Every time we bring this energy I seem to come out on top. Maybe next time he won’t be so boisterous.
“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.”
Dirk van Duijvenbode also came through a seven-set epic to reach the Last 16, battling back from 3-0 down to defeat Ross Smith 4-3.
Last year’s quarter-finalist Van Duijvenbode looked destined for defeat as he lost the opening three sets before embarking on a remarkable comeback.
After Smith was unable to take out 66 to wrap up a whitewash 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 at Ally Pally for the first time with a comprehensive 4-0 whitewash of Gabriel Clemens.
Clayton once again lived up to his billing as a title contender with a second successive ton-plus average to make light work of Clemens – who knocked out Peter Wright in last year’s Third Round.
The Premier League champion dropped just four legs in a ruthless display which saw him average 102.5 and land seven 180s.
World number nine Michael Smith also impressed in his 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 Round Two respectively, but it was the Australian who extended his dream run.
DPA qualifier Smith 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 after Vincent van der Voort was ruled out of the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of his their Third Round match.
World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Ten Results
Monday December 27
Ross Smith 3-4 Dirk Van Duijvenbode
Michael Smith 4-2 William O’Connor
Florian Hempel 1-4 Raymond Smith
James Wade w/o Vincent Van der Voort
Gerwyn Price 4-3 Kim Huybrechts
Jonny Clayton 4-0 Gabriel Clemens