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Nic Ladds 23rd Dec 2009 - 22:58

Whitlock makes stunning return to the World Darts Championship

Simon Whitlock made a stunning return to the World Darts Championship with a 3-1 defeat of Colin Osborne at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday night.

The Australian reached the last 16 of the 2003 World Championship before spending the next six years on the BDO/WDF circuit, reaching the Lakeside Championship final two years ago.

However, he has rejoined the PDC this year and announced his intentions to challenge for the £200,000 title at Alexandra Palace with one of the most impressive displays of the tournament so far to see off the number 11 seed, who shares the "Wizard" nickname.

Whitlock hit four 180s and two ton-plus finishes in establishing a two-set lead before Osborne edged the third to stay in the game.

The duo traded further 100-plus checkouts in the fourth, but Whitlock landed his sixth maximum of the game and a 93 finish in sealing victory - averaging 101 and hitting 11 from 15 attempts at a double.

"I'm extremely happy with how I played," said Whitlock. "I had a great start, hitting a few big shots and 180s but Colin came back at me really well and no-one deserved to lose really.

"I felt fantastic up there and it was great. I feel really good, I've beaten all the top players before and I'm looking forward to the second round after Christmas."

Whitlock will now face either Wayne Jones or Alex Roy in the second round, while he was joined in the last 32 on Tuesday night by American Darin Young, Steve Beaton and

Young edged out Andy Smith 3-2 in a dramatic five-set contest, with the Englishman coming from two sets down to level only to miss three darts for victory in the deciding set before the American left-hander prevailed 6-4 in a tie-break.

Beaton, the 1996 Embassy Champion, dropped only two legs in a solid straight sets defeat of Spanish number one Carlos Rodriguez, while Ovens overcame Jan van der Rassel 3-1.

The Dutch left-hander was handed a late call into the tournament last week after China's Shi Yongsheng was unable to gain a visa, and took full advantage with a 4-1 preliminary round win over German Tomas Seyler, only to see Ovens prove too strong.

The Hertfordshire man took a two-set lead before van der Rassel threatened a comeback by winning a high-quality third set, only for Ovens to close out the win.

The first round concludes on Wednesday evening, with the games including world number three James Wade up against Bristol's Steve Brown, Holland's Michael van Gerwen against emerging star Peter Wright and former World Matchplay winner Colin Lloyd also in action.

World Darts Championship
First Round (Preliminary Round games denoted by (P))
Tuesday December 22
Darin Young 3-2 Andy Smith
Jan van der Rassel 4-1 Tomas Seyler (P)
Steve Beaton 3-0 Carlos Rodriguez
Simon Whitlock 3-1 Colin Osborne
Denis Ovens 3-1 Jan van der Rassel

Wednesday December 23 - 7pm
Wayne Jones v Alex Roy
Magnus Caris v Francisco Ruiz (P)
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
James Wade v Steve Brown
Colin Lloyd v Caris/Ruiz

(3-1, 3-2, 0-3, 0-3, 6-4)
DARIN YOUNG condemned Andy Smith to a third straight first round defeat at the World Championship with a nail-biting five-set victory at Alexandra Palace.

Young took a two-set lead in the contest, only for Smith to peg him back and then miss three darts for the match in the decider before the American came through a tie-break to seal the win.

Young made a good start to the match by breaking throw in the first leg, after Smith wasted three chances at double 18.

The American doubled his lead after Smith another dart a double, but the 27th seed managed to win the third leg by landing double eight.

However, Young won the next by recording a 68 finish to take an early lead in the match.

Smith won the first leg of the second set against the darts but was unable to double his advantage in the second, after missing two darts at double top, and Young cashed in with a 66 finish.

Young, making his fourth World Championship appearance, took a 2-1 lead, but missed two chances to win the set in the fourth leg and Smith hit double top.

In the deciding leg Young hit a timely maximum which gave him command in the leg and he rounded it off with a 65 finish for a two set lead.

Smith, who won a Players Championship in Germany earlier this year, managed to take out a 121 checkout to open up the third set and then won the second leg by hitting double top.

The Studley man missed four darts to take the set in the next, but Young was unable to take the opportunity to keep the set alive and Smith returned to reduce the deficit.

Smith kept up the momentum in the fourth set, breaking throw to win the first leg, hitting his first maximum of the game in the second and then double ten to level the match.

Smith took an early advantage in the final set by taking out a 68 finish, but Young managed to take his first leg in eight to level the set.

Young then broke throw with an 80 finish to go one leg away from the match, butSmith battled back to win the fourth leg and take the match into a tie-break situation, the first of this year's tournament.

Smith managed to hold throw with a two-dart 58 to win fifth leg after Young missed three chances at doubles to take the initiative and was on course for a ten-darter in the sixth which would have given him victory.

But he missed three darts at double 18, and Young took out an excellent 86 finish on double seven to keep the game alive, before a two-dart 81 saw him hit the front in the set 4-3.

Smith refused to lie down and broke Young's throw again with a fantastic 12-dart finish, which included back-to-back maximums, only for the left-hander to break back and, despite a maximum from Smith in the next, go on to seal victory with an 80 finish.

"I started the match really well but for some reason I lost my concentration," said Young. "I'm disappointed I allowed that two sets lead slip but I'm through and that's what matters.

"I play Terry Jenkins next and he had invited me to stay with him over Christmas so I'll have to see if that offer still stands now!"

DUTCHMAN Jan van der Rassel booked a first round tie against Denis Ovens after a comfortable 4-1 victory over Tomas Seyler in the preliminary round of the World Darts Championship.

Van der Rassel, who reached the last 16 of this event two years ago, only came into the tournament as a late replacement for China's Shi Yongsheng, who was forced to withdraw after being unable to gain a UK visa.

And the left-hander took his opportunity in style, winning the opening leg of the match after Seyler missed three chances for an early break of throw.

Seyler soon levelled matters but van der Rassel regained the lead in the third leg by hitting double ten.

A vital break of throw in the fourth gave the Dutchman a 3-1 lead and he wrapped up the match in the next by landing double top.

(3-2, 3-0, 3-0)
STEVE BEATON made comfortable progress into the second round of the 2010 World Darts Championship with victory over Spain's Carlos Rodriguez.

Beaton won a tight opening set in a deciding leg before taking the next two with ease to overcome a potentially tricky opponent.

The opening two legs of the match were shared before Beaton won the third leg against the darts with a 13-dart finish that included a maximum.

But Beaton made several errors trying to wrap up the set in the fourth and Rodriguez made him pay with an accurate attempt at double two.

Rodriguez had the advantage of throw in the deciding leg, but Beaton won it with a clinical 98 finish to open up an early lead.

Rodriguez, who defeated Roland Scholten on his debut in last year's event, hit a maximum at the start of the second set, but Beaton won the leg by hitting double top.

The European Championship finalist broke throw in the second by landing double nine and then won the set with a 14-darter to take complete command of the match.

The former World Champion hit his third maximum of the game to win the first leg of third set, and then broke throw again after Rodriguez missed chances to level.

That put Beaton one leg away from the match, and the end was swift with a 13-dart finish to book a last 32 clash against Andy Hamilton.

"I went up there with the attitude of enjoying the game and it worked well for me," said Beaton. "The crowd were behind me 100 percent and that was brilliant.

"I'm really looking forward to my next match with Andy now. He beat me in this event a couple of years ago so it's my chance to get my own back."

(3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-2)
AUSTRALIAN Simon Whitlock produced a fantastic performance to come out on top in the battle of darts' Wizards' and defeat Colin Osborne 3-1 in the first round of the 2010 orld Darts Championship.

Whitlock, making his debut appearance at the Alexandra Palace and ending a six-year gap from the World Darts Championship, ended the match with a three-dart average of over 101 and checkout ratio of 73 per cent in an impressive return to the PDC event.

Whitlock won the first leg of the match in superb fashion hitting a 120 checkout, before Osborne broke back by landing double top to level.

The Australian secured a second break of throw to win the third leg, and then wrapped up the set by hitting double eight.

Whitlock hit top form to win the first two legs of the second set, with a 12-dart finish followed by a 122 checkout.

Osborne, however, fought back to win the next two legs, hitting a vital 107 checkout after his opponent missed chances to win the set before double top levelled, but Whitlock won the decider with a clinical two-dart 85 to take a two-set lead and leave the Derby man with a mountain to climb.

He did his best to scale the heights, taking a 2-1 advantage in the third set before Whitlock won the fourth leg with a fabulous 130 checkout.

The former Lakeside Championship finalist also hit a sixth maximum of the game in the deciding leg, but Osborne held his nerve to convert a 112 finish with his opponent waiting on a two-dart checkout for the match.

Osborne was made to pay for two missed darts at double 18 at the start of the fourlth set when Whitlock converted a 108 checkout to win the opening leg.

The Derby thrower levelled, but Whitlock won the third leg to go one leg away from victory.

Osborne put together a superb leg of darts to win the fourth leg to keep the match alive, rounding it of with an superb 160 checkout.

But the Australian held throw with a 93 finish in the deciding leg to end a high-quality contest and set up a last 32 clash against Wayne Jones or Alex Roy.

"I'm extremely happy with how I played," said Whitlock. "I had a great start, hitting a few big shots and 180s but Colin came back at me really well and no-one deserved to lose really.

"I felt fantastic up there and it was great. I feel really good, I've beaten all the top players before and I'm looking forward to the second round after Christmas."

(3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 3-1)
DENIS OVENS defeated Jan van der Rassel with a 3-1 victory in the opening round of the 2010 World Darts Championship.

The 23rd seed gained revenge for the defeat he suffered to the Dutchman at the 2008 World Championship with a solid, if unspectacular, performance.

Both players struggled to find their range in the opening set but Ovens managed to win it in deciding leg with a 70 finish after the Dutchman was unable to match his opponent's scoring.

The opening two legs of the second set were held with throw, and that sequence continued when Ovens landed double top for a 2-1 lead.

Van der Rassel missed a number of opportunities to win the fourth leg and Ovens made his opponent pay by converting a 94 finish to take the second set.

The Dutchman, who defeated Germany's Tomas Seyler earlier in the evening, began the third set with a 12-dart finish, before Ovens hit back with a successful attempt at double 16 to level.

Van der Rassel then recorded a 116 checkout to win the third leg, and then won the set by landing double nine with his last dart.

Ovens hit a maximum in the process of a 13=darter to begin the fourth set and that was followed up with a break of throw by hitting double ten.

An opportunity to wrap up victory went begging for Ovens in the third leg as he missed five darts at a double, and van der Rassel kept the match alive by landing double eight.

The Dutchman had chances to win the fourth leg after Ovens missed further opportunities to win the match, but the Hertfordshire man returned to finally double seven to seal the win.


Please find below a round-up, results and match reports from Tuesday's play at the World Darts Championship.

As always, thanks to Lawrence Lustig at the PDC





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