A review of Sunday's action at the William Hill World Darts Championship as Michael van Gerwen brushed aside Ricky Evans to progress to the last 16 at the Ally Pally.
Van Gerwen brushes aside Evans
Defending champion Michael van Gerwen eased into the last 16 of the PDC World Championship with a comfortable 4-0 whitewash of Ricky Evans.
In his quest to become world champion for a fourth time, van Gerwen looked to have his game in good working order and will have no doubt been pleased with the manner in which he was able to punish his opponent at a couple of crucial junctures in the match.
Evans certainly held in his own in a competitive opening set but had to watch on as van Gerwen found double top to inch in front before Evans missed a shot at bullseye moments later, allowing van Gerwen to extend his lead to 2-0.
Evans looked sure to get his first set on the board when left with three darts at double 10 in the third set but when he failed to find the target, van Gerwen ruthlessly stepped in to steal the set and put himself on the cusp of victory.
With Evans' race now run, van Gerwen wasted little time in finishing the job, closing out the match in typically dominant fashion on a night where he registered 10 180's.
"I wasn't really in my comfort zone tonight but I'm happy to get such a big win," said van Gerwen, who will take on Stephen Bunting after the Christmas break.
"I had to work hard to keep myself concentrated so I am pleased that I did that. I think Ricky's fast pace helped me and I enjoy playing matches like this.
"Stephen is playing quite well but he is going to have to play the darts of his life to beat me."
Wade crashes out
Steve Beaton reached the last 16 of the PDC World Championship for the first time in 16 years with a fabulous victory over James Wade.
Former Lakeside Champion Beaton took the first set before coming back from two legs behind to steal set two and take control of the contest.
The next two sets were shared and 55-year-old Beaton won the sixth set 3-1 to complete victory by a margin of four sets to two.
"I had to dig in to get that result," said the veteran star, who will take on Darius Labanauskas in the fourth round.
"I've had so many bad Christmases but I can go and enjoy it now, knowing that I'm coming back for another game.
"I've got to be positive and think I've got every chance of getting even further in the tournament."
Huybrechts too strong for Noppert
Kim Huybrechts came from behind to beat Danny Noppert 4-2, closing out the match with a brilliant 150 checkout.
It was Noppert who initially settled the better, dominating the opening set to take the lead before Huybrechts hit straight back by winning set two, one shot at double 16 all that was needed for him to level the scores.
When the next two sets were shared, a grandstand finish seemed highly likely but Huybrechts proved much the stronger as the winning line came in sight and having taken the fifth set, he duly wrapped up proceedings with a picture-perfect finish.
Asp digs deep to scramble through
Nathan Aspinall needed to go through the gears in the closing stages against a resilient Krzysztof Ratajski to eventually win 4-3.
Ratajski had beaten the popular Stockport thrower from their two previous meetings earlier this year, including when edging him to the Players Championship title, and Aspinall stressed pre-match that a strong start would be essential.
He lived up to his word with a very decent opening set and still appeared to be well in control until losing focus when 3-1 up.
Ratajski fought hard to get back on level terms and looked to have the momentum going into the seventh and deciding set, but Aspinall suddenly clicked into overdrive to seal the win with a pretty perfect set.
The final leg was an impressive display, capped by a smooth double top to polish off 116, and saw Aspinall safely through to the next round where he will meet the winner of Gary Anderson's clash with Ryan Searle on Monday evening.
Aspinall hit eight 180s and scored a three-dart average of 98.13 en route to victory.
"I thought I'd won it when I went 3-1 up but he battled back and I had to dig deep," said the 2019 UK Open Champion.
"I think I've shown in my relatively short career that I've got the ability to fight when I need to - I had to do that there and I'm really happy to be through.
Clinical from Bunting
Stephen Bunting powered into the last 16 with a destructive 4-0 victory over Jonny Clayton.
Clayton led the head-to-head battle 5-2 coming into the clash but never got going in a very one-sided affair.
Bunting raced into a 3-0 lead in sets but the final set went down to the wire, starting with a couple of breaks of throw before the Liverpool thrower set the tone in the deciding leg with an opening 140.
He left himself 28 from just 12 darts with Clayton still some way off a checkout and while the attempted double 14 slipped into the double 11 bed, he pinned the remaining double three at the first time of asking.
Bunting, who had a three-dart average of 95.71 and won the 180 battle 5-3, told Sky Sports Darts: "Even at 3-0 up I wanted to carry on and keep his head under the water. He's dangerous and I couldn't afford to let him back into the game. I know Jonny, I've been on the end of a tonking from him so I knew I needed to start well and I did."
Labanauskas sends Hopp home
The PDC World Championship dream continued for Lithuanian Darius Labanauskas as he followed up his surprise win over Ian White last weekend with a 4-2 defeat of Max Hopp.
Labanauskas was coming back to the Ally Pally oche after a full week off but soon found his stride and, though scrappy at times, dominated the match from the outset in terms of scoring and a few neat finishes, something that was there for all to see against White.
Six legs on the spin to go 2-0 up in the sixth set really put his stamp on the game but a missed double 16 for the match allowed the German seed Hopp back into the match.
Hopp couldn't fully capitalise after levelling the set and trebles deserted him again, allowing Labanauskas to get over the line, taking out his remaining 60 with two darts as Hopp waited on 16.
World Darts Championship: Sunday results
Sunday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Third Round (Best of 7 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts
- Jonny Clayton 0-4 Stephen Bunting
- Darius Labanauskas 4-2 Max Hopp
- Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Evening Session (1900)
Third Round (Best of 7 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts
- James Wade 2-4 Steve Beaton
- Kim Huybrechts 4-2 Danny Noppert
- Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Ricky Evans
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