Lewis out to continue form as Premier League visits Nottingham
Adrian Lewis is aiming to follow up his UK Open triumph by continuing his push for a Premier League Darts Play-Off spot against Gary Anderson as the tournament visits Nottingham's Capital FM Arena on Thursday.
Lewis picked up the fourth major title of his career on Sunday night as he romped past Terry Jenkins 11-1 in an imperious performance to win the UK Open final in Minehead.
The 29-year-old Stoke ace averaged 109 - a figure only bettered by Phil Taylor in a major televised decider - as he condemned Jenkins to his eighth defeat in a big final.
Having also drawn with World Champion Michael van Gerwen in last week's Premier League round in Exeter, Lewis is now aiming to defeat 2011 champion Anderson and kick-start his push for a Play-Off place in May.
"Winning the UK Open's a massive boost for my confidence," said Lewis. "I'd been a bit patchy in the early weeks of the Premier League, but I was under the weather and now I've got over a chest infection I'm getting back to my best.
"Last weekend was a big step in the right direction for me. I'm trying to concentrate on what I'm doing and I want to keep this form going now.
"I think at the moment I'm up in the top two in the world and Thursday's game against Gary is another chance to show that."
Scottish ace Anderson has won three of his opening five games to move fourth in the league table, having overcome Phil Taylor 7-5 in Exeter last week.
"I'm pleased with how my form's coming back and I'm getting back to my best," said Anderson. "Even though I beat Phil last week I still think I can improve and I'll have to against Adrian.
"In the last couple of years I've been down at the other end of the table so it's nice to be in the top four at the moment, but there's still a long way to go in the league."
The visit to Nottingham sees Wes Newton make his return to action as he takes on World Champion Michael van Gerwen, after the Fleetwood ace missed last week's Premier League night and the UK Open through a bout of tonsillitis.
"I was gutted to miss the Premier League and the UK Open but I'm really looking forward to being back playing," said Newton, who sits fifth in the table with a game in hand on his rivals.
"The challenges don't come any bigger than playing Michael and he'll be smarting after losing in the semi-finals of the UK Open. I've had a good start though, and if I can keep playing like I have been then there's no reason I can't get a result."
The battle to avoid relegation after Week Nine in Cardiff next month continues as six-time Premier League champion Phil Taylor - who has won just once from five games - takes on Dave Chisnall in a rematch of last year's World Grand Prix final.
"I always enjoy playing Phil and we've had some great matches," said Chisnall, who has picked up four points so far in his debut season.
"There are four games left and anything can happen in that time, but every point is valuable - as I showed last week against Raymond."
Australian ace Simon Whitlock picked up his first points of the season with a brilliant win over Robert Thornton last Thursday - hitting seven doubles from as many attempts in his 7-5 triumph.
The 2012 runner-up now plays league leader Peter Wright in Nottingham, and said: "My finishing was awesome last week and I feel good.
"I'll never give up and people shouldn't write me off. I'd had an ear infection in the early weeks but I'm giving it my all because you've got to fight for every point in the Premier League."
Wright remains the Premier League's only unbeaten player following five weeks, and sits a point clear of van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld at the top of the table after drawing with Thornton in Exeter.
"I felt it was a point lost against Robert last week, but I wasn't unhappy with a draw," said Wright. "I'll carry on with what I'm doing, because it's working so far.
"My target is not to lose a game and if I carry on drawing then that's fine, but it would be nice to get a win against Simon."
Scottish ace Thornton had doubled up to play twice a week ago in Newton's absence, but after drawing with Wright and losing to Whitlock was left just two points above the league's relegation zone ahead of this week's clash with van Barneveld.
"I want to stay out of the bottom two, and if I can do that after nine weeks then I can come out gunning in the final few weeks," said Thornton.
"I'm scoring well and hitting lots of 180s but I'd have liked to have picked up more than one point in Exeter. I'm trying to tighten up on my finishing and that should stand me in good stead."