- PDC World Championship
Lewis on fire while Wade makes dramatic comeback
Adrian Lewis kept himself on track on the final night of PDC World Championship action at Alexandra Palace before the Christmas break, but the real drama of the night came with James Wade rescuing himself from 3-0 down to win a deciding tiebreak in the seventh set against Andy Smith.
Wade and Smith were first up in the evening session, and both players missed chances to take the first set before Smith landed double 4, and he then took out bull for a 161 finish to claim the advantage in the second set en route to establishing a 2-0 lead.
Wade, beaten semi-finalist last year and 1/12 favourite for this match, was looking out of sorts, although a clumsy effort from Smith in the first leg of the third set allowed the sixth seed a confidence-boosting break. Smith broke straight back with a smart 62 checkout, and when Wade narrowly missed his favourite double 10 for the third set, Smith immediately capitalised to take it 3-2 and set up a possible whitewash.
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Wade avoided that fate by taking the fourth set 3-1 and then the fifth by the same score as nerves began to creep in on Smith's scoring, as well as misses off double 8 and double tops to win legs in the sixth set that also went to Wade. From 3-0, it was now a deciding set. A brilliant 180 from Smith left him 42 for the match, but he missed two darts at double 16 and Wade salvaged the leg to make it 2-2 and move the match into a tiebreak.
When Wade knocked off 122 for the break and 3-2, it was his first lead of the entire match and he rounded it out by hitting double tops for a 100 finish before sinking to his knees in celebration.
"At three-nil down I just told myself to try and make a game of it, and somehow I've managed to come back and win it," said Wade, who will face Justin Pipe or Devon Petersen in the next round. "I know that I've got away with it again, with Andy missing those chances to win it, but they have to be taken, and I have a good habit of taking mine."
Two-time champion Lewis kept himself firmly on track for title No. 3 with a 4-1 victory over Vincent van der Voort, with nine 180s and an average of 103 for the match.
Lewis won the first set 3-2, and the standard was high - he averaged over 111, hit a 146 checkout and had a checkout percentage of 75%. The man from Stoke maintained the pressure in the second set by cruising to it without dropping a leg.
Van der Voort was not playing poorly either, though, and he rallied in style by taking the third set 3-0. He then levelled at two-legs all from 2-0 down in the fourth, but Lewis secured the set with a 112 checkout. A 12-dart, 125-checkout start to the fifth set put Lewis firmly in command, and he took his maximum tally for the match to nine in completing the victory that was closer than the scoreline suggested.
"If it wasn't for that 146 in the first set, I could have been in trouble," said Lewis. "I thought he [Van der Voort] was fantastic tonight."
Lewis will face Mervyn King in round three after King overcame a spirited challenge from Ricky Evans.
Evans, the world No.76, missed bull for a 122 finish in the first set and another four opportunities in what proved the decisive leg as King held steady. Evans continued to hit highs and lows in the second set, but took it 3-2 as King, a semi-finalist five years ago, missed two attempts at doubles.
The next two sets were split, Evans claiming the fourth 3-0, but King responsed by winning the fifth 3-0 and then wrapped up the match by coming from 2-1 down to finish on double 13.
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