Monday 24 April 2017

Darts: Thrilled Lewis targets 'six or seven' titles

Adrian Lewis kisses the trophy after defeating Gary Anderson in a thrilling final. Photo: PA
Adrian Lewis kisses the trophy after defeating Gary Anderson in a thrilling final. Photo: PA

Bobby Power

NEW PDC world champion Adrian Lewis has targeted "six or seven" world titles, but thinks it is unlikely that he will match Phil Taylor's record of 15.

"Now I've won one, I want to win again," said the 25-year-old from Stoke as he reflected on his thrilling 7-5 victory over Gary Anderson in the final on Monday night.

"I've got that feeling for it and I think I can win a few more. I don't think I'll win 15, but I've got my eyes set on a good six or seven."

Taylor, who was defeated in the quarter-finals by Mark Webster, helped a young Lewis during the early stages of his career and the new champion admitted that the 50-year-old had been a big influence.

"We are good mates on and off the oche and he said he was proud of me," said Lewis, who has now risen to No 2 in the world rankings. "He said he thinks of me like a son, which is very nice to hear."

Lewis earned £200,000 for winning the title, as well as collecting a £10,000 bonus for hitting the first nine-dart finish in a world championship final in the third leg of the match.

He added: "With it being so early in the match, they wanted me to go off and have a break. I thought to myself that if I go off that stage I would start thinking about it, so I wanted to carry on."

Lewis often failed to deliver on the early promise he had shown as a teenager and did not reach a major PDC final until the World Grand Prix in October, when he lost to James Wade.

Breakthrough

That tournament in Dublin, where he defeated Taylor on television for the first time, proved to be the breakthrough for 'Jackpot', who is the youngest player to win the PDC version of the world title.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. I'm in dreamland. It hasn't quite sunk in yet," he said.

"To hit the nine-darter was fabulous, especially on an occasion like this. It took a lot of bottle to keep my courage in front of all those people.

"I feel like I've deserved it after the potential I've shown over the years, but I have to push on from this."

Anderson, who twice rallied from two sets down, had no complaints at falling short in his quest for a maiden world title.

"I was tired. It was possibly one match too far for me," the Scotsman said. "Adrian played absolutely brilliant and his scoring power really killed me. Now I know what it's like to be hit with 180s!

"The double-10 really killed me off: I had more trouble hitting that than the treble."

The game could not have got off to a more explosive start, with Lewis landing his memorable finish in just the third leg before taking the set 3-1.

Clearly stung, Anderson was off-colour in the next set which Lewis took 3-0, although he struggled to a double-one finish in the first leg.

Anderson cleaned up in the third set, which he took 3-0 thanks to two stunning checkouts of 130 and 136, with Lewis moving 3-1 ahead in the next thanks to a 78 finish against the throw.

Anderson attacked and a 12-dart finish set him on his way to the fifth set before he plundered a 164 checkout to move back to 3-3.

Lewis floated in a 10-dart finish in a seventh set that he took 3-1 thanks to a maximum in each of the successful legs.

The standard remained unbelievably high in the eighth set, with Lewis landing a 97 finish against the throw to move 5-3 ahead, before registering five maximums in a ninth set he also dominated.

Anderson fought back, though, taking the 10th set 3-1 against the throw, before getting back to 6-5 with a 3-0 win, Lewis missing a combined total of six doubles as he had chances to win each leg.

But Lewis would not be denied in the 12th set and finally clinched a brilliant win.

Irish Independent

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