Van Gerwen lights up Alexandra Palace in the standout performance of the World Championship
Van Gerwen lights up Alexandra Palace in the standout performance of the World Championship.
Day Seven of the Cazoo World Darts Championship action at Alexandra Palace saw Michael van Gerwen and Josh Rock easily advance to the third round.
Van Gerwen, a three-time world champion, set the tone with a 3-0 demolition of Lewy Williams, while Rock continued his ascent with a victory over Callan Rydz in straight sets.
In his victory over Welsh teenager Williams, third-seeded Van Gerwen played the oche for less than 20 minutes.
In the second set, with legs of 13, 12, and 11 darts, Van Gerwen improved dramatically after losing the first set’s only leg to win the match.
The three-time World Champion put his rivals on notice by finishing the match with a 101.84 average, his 34th ton-plus average on the Alexandra Palace stage.
“It wasn’t perfect but I think I played quite well,” said Van Gerwen, the pre-tournament favourite.
“I had to work hard for it, a performance like this doesn’t come from nothing. It gives me a lot of pleasure to be back on this stage, Ally Pally has a special place in my heart.
“To receive such an amazing reception from the crowd means a lot to me.
“I’m always trying to play darts at the highest level I possibly can; I know what I’m capable of.”
Josh Rock, also advanced quickly; it took him less than 25 minutes to defeat Callan Rydz in straight sets.
The quarterfinalist from the previous year was easily defeated by Northern Ireland’s Rock, who is now considered to be the joint-fourth favourite to win the championship on his World Championship debut.
Rock was in complete control of the match against an unfocused Rydz, losing just four sets despite the fact that the match between two of the sport’s brightest young talents fell short of expectations.
“I’m happy to win but I’m still disappointed that I haven’t produced my best game yet,” Rock admitted.
“I’m frustrated but it’s hard when you’re on that stage, you try that extra bit harder because we’re all here to be World Champion.
“I was expecting Callan to play a lot better than he did; once I knew he wasn’t up to his usual standard I slacked off mentally which was a mistake.
“I’m going to go away and enjoy Christmas with my family and I know I will be far better when I come back after the break.”
With his impressive performance in his 3-1 victory over Andrew Gilding, Dave Chisnall attracted attention.
Both players hit seven 180s in one of the tournament’s best matches so far, but Chisnall’s attempt at a tons-plus average was hindered by missed doubles.
Chisnall responded with a 119 average in set two to tie the match after Gilding won the first set.
Chisnall advanced to round three, where he will now face Stephen Bunting, by winning last-leg deciders in each of the last two sets.
“I knew Andrew was going to pay well so I had to be on my A-game,” said Chisnall.
“It’s pleasing to have played so well for most of the game. I feel really good, I couldn’t wait to get on that stage and it showed in my performance.”
After defeating Leonard Gates 3-1 with seven 180s and two-ton plus checkouts, Bunting will compete against Chisnall in a north-west derby.
On his debut at Alexandra Palace, American fan favourite Gates, who defeated Geert Nentjes in the first round, continued to impress. He closed out the opening set with a 101 checkout.
In the second set, both players were plagued by instances of missed doubles, but Bunting managed to tie the match.
Former semifinalist Bunting won the third set 3-1 before clinching the victory in the fourth set with a 124 checkout.
In a thrilling match, veteran Mervyn King defeated Danny Baggish 3-2 by fending off his comeback.
King, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year, won the deciding legs in the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead, but Baggish fought back to win the next two sets and force a decider.
The American won the first leg of the final set, but King went on to win the following three – each in 15 darts or less – to advance to the third round.
“I’m just pleased to get through, it’s nice to get over the line even though I felt I made it a lot harder than it should have been,” said King.
“I could have won it in three or four sets, but to win it in five is fine.
“My whole year has been terrible to be honest – I’ve been trying so hard and getting nowhere, but now I have the chance to put that right with a run here.”
In a convincing 3-0 victory over William O’Connor, Gabriel Clemens advanced to the third round for the third year in a row.
Clemens won the decisive legs of the first two sets to take a decisive lead in a match that was widely reported as a “50-50” draw.
After Christmas, James Wade or Jim Williams will await in round three, where the German pressed home the advantage by winning it without a challenge.
Wednesday’s first match at Alexandra Palace featured Lithuanian Darius Labanauskas defeating American John O’Shea 3-2 after coming back from a 2-0 deficit.
Former quarterfinalist Labanauskas, who threw a nine-darter in the competition last year, lost the deciding legs of the first two sets to Irish debutant O’Shea and fell behind 2-0. However, he fought back valiantly to advance to a second round matchup with European Champion Ross Smith.
In the final match of the first round, Martijn Kleermaker defeated Xicheng Han 3-0 and advanced without any difficulty.
Han, a Chinese debutant, was no match for Kleermaker, who advanced to the event’s last 16 last year. Kleermaker dropped just two legs en route to a convincing victory.
2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 21
2x First Round, 2x Second Round
Darius Labanauskas 3-2 John O’Shea (2-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1) (R1)
Martijn Kleermaker 3-0 Xicheng Han (3-0, 3-1, 3-1) (R1)
Josh Rock 3-0 Callan Rydz (3-2, 3-1, 3-1) (R2)
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Andrew Gilding (0-3, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2) (R2)
4x Second Round
Mervyn King 3-2 Danny Baggish (3-2, 3-2, 2-3, 2-3, 3-1) (R2)
Gabriel Clemens 3-0 William O‘Connor (3-2, 3-2, 3-0) (R2)
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Lewy Williams (3-1, 3-0, 3-0) (R2)
Stephen Bunting 3-1 Leonard Gates (2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1) (R2)
Thursday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round
Krzysztof Ratajski v Danny Jansen (R2)
Ryan Searle v Adam Gawlas (R2)
Mensur Suljovic v Mike De Decker (R2)
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Karel Sedlacek (R2)
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Gary Anderson v Madars Razma (R2)
James Wade v Jim Williams (R2)
Luke Humphries v Florian Hempel (R2)
Vincent van der Voort v Cameron Menzies (R2)