Michael van Gerwen narrowly avoids shock exit at Alexandra Palace
Published 28/12/2013 | 17:34
Michael van Gerwen avoided a shock exit from the PDC World Championships by edging a thrilling encounter with Gary Anderson to progress to the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace.
The Dutchman needed seven sets to book his place alongside Mark Webster in the last eight after 2011 finalist Anderson pulled two sets clear by hitting double one with a pressure third dart in the fourth set.
Van Gerwen rallied to force a deciding set and finally squeezed over the line to win 4-3 by hitting a brilliant 174 before closing on double eight at the first attempt.
After keeping his hopes of winning a first world title alive, the 24-year-old told pdc.tv: "I'm delighted with the way I came back to win this really tough game.
"I was very disappointed not to win the fourth set to level at two all, but I never lost belief that I couldn't make a comeback and win.
"It's a great feeling to be involved in brilliant fast-flowing games like this, and the crowd added to it by making a great atmosphere."
Anderson hit 12 maximums in defeat and admitted: "I've let Michael off today, at 3-1 up I should have got the job done.
"Winning that tight fourth set to go 3-1 up felt really big, but my scoring dropped slightly at the business of sets and you can't really afford to do against a player of Michael's class.
"The crowd gave me fantastic support today and it added to a great game. I'm just really gutted that I've not got the chance to play in front of another big audience tomorrow night."
Adrian Lewis booked his place in the quarter-finals and a tantalising match against James Wade by clinching a 4-1 victory over Mervyn King.
The Stoke player won nine of the first 11 legs to build a 3-0 lead before surviving a fightback from King to wrap the game up in the fifth set.
Two-time world champion Lewis, who ousted Vincent van der Voort in the second round, said: "I certainly didn't reach the standards of my last game but my finishing was good once again.
"Mervyn was on a little bit of a roll at one stage and the 115 finish I managed to take out in the fifth set stopped him in his tracks, and got me through.
"There are a lot of good names still left in this event, but I'm the only one who has got to a final and crossed the finishing line twice."
He will meet Wade in the last eight for what will be a repeat of their dramatic 2012 semi-final face-off after the seven-time major champion ended Devon Petersen's fine run with a 4-0 victory.
Wade had only scraped past Andy Smith and Darren Webster while South African Petersen surprised Justin Pipe and Steve Beaton in earlier rounds, but on Saturday afternoon the Aldershot man enjoyed far easier passage.
The world number six took the first two sets with relative ease before Petersen threw away his shot at taking the second when missing one dart at double 16.
Wade hit his seventh 180 in the deciding leg and took out double six to ease through to the quarters.
"That wasn't as easy as the 4-0 scoreline suggests, and I'm just glad to get past Devon, who is very dangerous on his day," Wade said.
"My scoring was a bit better as the 99 plus average shows, but it will need to improve a lot more if I'm going to progress further."