• World Darts Championship

Lewis dumped out after Van Gerwen thriller

ESPN staff
December 29, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Michael van Gerwen produced a scintillating show of darts to defeat the defending champion © PA Photos
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Defending champion Adrian Lewis was sent crashing out of the World Darts Championship after being dealt a 5-4 defeat by young Dutchman Michael van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen, the in-form player at Alexandra Palace, dominated play much of the play, but his failure to land the doubles nearly proved costly, but he held his nerve to book his place in the semi-finals.

After hanging on to force a deciding set, two-time champion Lewis missed two darts to win the match, and Van Gerwen roared back to seal a thrilling victory.

The Dutchman reached the semi-finals for the first time in his career following a meteoric rise to prominence in 2012. He will face James Wade in the last four after Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld booked a semi-final showdown on Friday night.

Lewis looked stunned as Van Gerwen romped through the opening set, and he eased the nerves to win the opening leg of the second, although it took him three attempts to hit double 20. Van Gerwen responded with the first 180 of the match - the first of 26 - to leave himself with a double 16 to level, but missed to gift Lewis the chance to break throw.

He recovered to trail 2-1 before another 180 put him in control of the fourth leg, while Lewis could only shake his head in disbelief as his third dart failed to land. But once again, Van Gerwen failed to close out, missing a double 20 as Lewis levelled with a checkout of 46 to level proceedings.

Van Gerwen bounced back to race to a 2-0 lead in the third set, and should have had the set wrapped up when he missed five attempts at double five, allowing Lewis to steal in to keep the set alive. With an average of over 100, Van Gerwen was dominating play, but his failure to finish proved costly as Lewis drew level. He once again failed to seal the set with three missed attempts at double 20, but returned to the oche to land a double 10 to take a 2-1 lead.

Lewis had been far from his best, but showed the qualities of a champion to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth set - agonisingly missing a bull for a 170 checkout to seal the set, but managed to get it done at the second time of asking with a double eight.

Van Gerwen had two stabs at a nine-dart finish as his average rocketed, but more missed doubles saw Lewis level for a third time with a 102 checkout before taking the lead for the first time in the match as his opponent appeared to be feeling the pressure early in the seventh set.

However, a storming checkout of 120 saw Van Gerwen take the lead for a fourth time, only for Lewis, who was playing his way into form, level once again to force a deciding set.

It was Lewis who appeared to be in control of the deciding set, and had two darts to win the match, but was left in tears after missing his chance, and Van Gerwen, on the brink of defeat, showed nerves of steel to seal a thrilling victory.

James Wade will be Van Gerwen's opponent in Sunday's semi-final after the third seed triumphed 5-4 in a nine-set thriller against Wes Newton.

Wade recovered from a shaky start to battle back from 2-0 down, winning nine legs out of the next ten to move within one set victory, only for Newton to launch a dramatic comeback from 4-2 down to force a deciding set.

Newton hit 11 180s to Wade's five, but it was Wade who held his nerve to seal the victory to move into the last four for a third time in five years.

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