GARY ANDERSON moved into the quarter-finals of the William Hill World Darts Championship with a sensational performance to beat Benito van de Pas in a thrilling contest at Alexandra Palace, while Raymond van Barneveld edged past Adrian Lewis on Wednesday to book his place in the last eight.
Anderson and Van Barneveld won the first third round ties in the sport’s biggest tournament after Peter Wright, James Wade, Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts had all enjoyed comfortable second round victories earlier in the day.
Reigning champion Anderson averaged 107.68 – the highest in this year’s tournament so far – as he defeated an impressive Van de Pas by four sets to two, hitting 11 180s in the process.
The Scottish ace, who has held the Sid Waddell Trophy for the last two years, won the first three sets without missing a dart at a double in a stunning display of finishing.
Anderson missed a dart at double top to win 4-0 and Van de Pas, who hit four ton-plus finishes, fought back and won the following two sets before the World Champion completed the job.
“This is what the World Championship is all about,” said number two seed Anderson, who will face either Dave Chisnall or Jelle Klaasen in the last eight on Friday.
“I felt really good at three-nil up but it got a bit nervy when Benito started coming back. Every player in the tournament can play good darts so I expected it.
“The 180s are back for me and the doubles went well. I’ll keep my head though because there is a long way to go but, so far, so good.”
Van Barneveld edged out Adrian Lewis in a seven set battle to reach the quarter-finals for the third consecutive year.
The five-time World Champion overturned a 3-2 deficit to progress, gaining some revenge for last year’s semi-final defeat to Lewis, whose six 180s proved to be in vain on this occasion.
“I had to keep digging,” said Van Barneveld, who will play Phil Taylor or Kim Huybrechts next. “I kept fighting and I’m proud of myself. It’s all about belief and I’m so happy.
“I can’t wait for the next match against Phil or Kim. I can’t wait for the crowd, for myself and for everyone.”
Wright produced an imperious display to defeat Welshman Jamie Lewis in straight sets, dropping just one leg in the final round two match.
The number three seed missed just four darts at doubles in 16 attempts, averaged 103.53 and took out spectacular finishes of 100, 130 and 144 in a stunning victory to ease into the last 16.
“I’ve missed this place over Christmas,” said Wright after following up his first round win against Jerry Hendriks with another whitewash triumph. “I’ve been practising a lot since my last game and I think it paid off.
“I play Ian White next and it should be a fantastic game. I never look past the next one so I’m hoping to perform even better in that.”
Number six seed Wade, meanwhile, saw off seasoned competitor Steve Beaton in five sets as he booked his place in the last 16 with a competent display.
The three-time World Championship semi-finalist averaged just under 100 as he raced three sets clear before eventually closing out a 4-1 success.
“I’m so pleased to win,” said Wade, who will take on Michael Smith in the third round on Thursday. “I really wanted to get it done four-nil because Steve is a natural player and I started to get a little nervous when he started to play like he can.
“I’m excited for the next round and the rest of the tournament. I’m not playing quite well enough yet but I’m there or thereabouts.”
2016 World Championship semi-finalist Klaasen twice threatened to produce the first nine-darter of this year’s tournament in an equally convincing win against Brendan Dolan, whose finishes of 142, 135 and 101 proved to be in vain.
Number ten seed Klaasen started two legs with back-to-back 180s, including the final one, which he eventually won with a 76 finish to set up a last 16 showdown with Dave Chisnall.
“I’m just pleased to get through that one,” said Klaasen, who hit five maximums on his way to a straight sets victory.
“The game against Dave Chisnall will be more at my pace and I think that will mean I can play better than this but I’m very happy with the game I played and the job I did.”
Belgian ace Huybrechts breezed past Max Hopp in straight sets as the German youngster was unable to follow up his impressive first round win against Vincent van der Voort.
Former Players Championship Finals and World Cup of Darts runner-up Huybrechts hit five 180s and a clinical 117 checkout in a comfortable victory, which set up a tasty last 16 tie with Phil Taylor.
“It wasn’t the best game but I’m happy to be through to the next round,” said Huybrechts, who has not reached the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace since his debut in 2012.
“I’m going to have to play much better against Phil Taylor if I want to get to the last eight but I’ll be ready and I’m going to love every minute of it.”
Thursday sees the third round conclude with the remaining six matches across two sessions, beginning with Mark Webster’s meeting with Daryl Gurney before Chisnall takes on Klaasen. Wade then meets Smith in the final match of the afternoon’s action.
Wright’s clash with White kicks off the evening session, before Taylor and Michael van Gerwen return to the Alexandra Palace stage, taking on Huybrechts and Darren Webster respectively.
William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 28
Kim Huybrechts (13) 4-0 Max Hopp
James Wade (6) 4-1 Steve Beaton (27)
Jelle Klaasen (10) 4-0 Brendan Dolan (23)
Peter Wright (3) 4-0 Jamie Lewis (30)
Gary Anderson (2) 4-2 Benito van de Pas (15)
Adrian Lewis (5) 3-4 Raymond van Barneveld (12)
Thursday December 29
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Mark Webster (25) v Daryl Gurney (24)
Dave Chisnall (7) v Jelle Klaasen (10)
James Wade (6) v Michael Smith (11)
Evening Session (7pm)
Peter Wright (3) v Ian White (14)
Phil Taylor (4) v Kim Huybrechts (13)
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Darren Webster
Third Round – best of seven sets