World Darts Semi Finals
VAN GERWEN & LEWIS REACH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Adrian Lewis will meet in the World Darts Championship semi-finals on Monday night after they overcame Mark Webster and James Wade at Alexandra Palace on Sunday night.
Van Gerwen and Lewis had met in a classic quarter-final in last year's event, when the Stoke ace missed two darts for victory before van Gerwen edged home - but will now face off for a place in Wednesday's World Championship final.
Van Gerwen, last year's runner-up at Alexandra Palace, produced a brilliant display of finishing as he hit eight ton-plus checkouts in seeing off Webster, who produced a stirring fightback from 3-0 down to trail only 4-3 before the Dutchman closed out the win.
The world number two made a blistering start by finishing 121, 124 and 139 to win the opening set in only 39 darts, before taking the second set 3-1 and the third in a deciding leg with a 128 finish.
Despite van Gerwen hitting an 11-darter in the fourth, Webster took the set 3-1 with a 102 finish as he got his challenge up and running, only for the Dutch star to take out 108 and 144 in winning the fifth without reply to move 4-1 up.
Van Gerwen also hit a 105 checkout, his seventh ton-plus finish of the game, in set six only to see Webster land his third 180 in a 14-darter to edge the deciding leg.
Webster then won the seventh set without reply to continue his fightback, but van Gerwen steadied his nerves with a 114 checkout before finishing 90 in two darts to take the next set 3-1 and claim victory.
"At the beginning I was very confident and I was playing great," said van Gerwen. "I hit a few great finishes but then I lost my focus and fell asleep for two and a half sets.
"I lost concentration and I didn't hit my high scoring and let him into the game a bit, but I won and that's the most important thing. I can't afford to do that to my opponent in the semi-finals.
"I'm feeling good and I'm in the last four. I had a great game last year against Adrian and I hope it will be the same again."
Lewis enjoyed a more comfortable passage through his clash with James Wade, taking a 5-1 victory from their last eight contest.
Lewis took the game's first three sets - taking the second and third in a deciding leg - before the left-hander hit back to win the fourth without reply, hitting two 12-darters in the process.
Lewis, though, took out 115 as he restored his cushion by winning the fifth set with three successive legs, before coming from a leg down in the next to secure his semi-final spot against van Gerwen - who had ended his title defence 12 months ago.
"I think it was a very professional job," said Lewis. "I started well and took the first set comfortably, the second and third sets weren't as comfortable because I gave James some chances but as soon as he missed I had to step in, and I got the job done.
"It wasn't too pretty and I've got a couple more gears left in me, but I hit the right shots at the right time and put him under pressure.
"My finishing was better against Mervyn King in the third round and my scoring was better tonight, but I've got to put them together against Michael. I think I'll be a lot more consistent against him than I was tonight.
"He's trying to win his first World Championship title but I've been there and done that, and I think it will be a cracker.
"He knows I'm going to come out firing, and for some reason when it comes to the big occasions I'm always there or thereabouts, which I'm very proud of."
Webster had slipped to 26th in the PDC Order of Merit ahead of the World Championship, but overcame Mensur Suljovic, John Henderson and Raymond van Barneveld to reach his first quarter-final since April.
Although his hopes of reaching a third Alexandra Palace semi-final were ended by van Gerwen, he admitted: "When he was three sets up, he was playing unreal darts and if he maintained that he'd have won 5-0.
"I knew that if he put in a big performance, my game at the minute isn't where it should be to compete with him but the plan was to try and put a bit of pressure on him and grind him down.
"I think it would have been interesting if I'd made it four-all, but he's world number two because he deals with those situations and he dealt with it very well, and good luck to him.
"I was in a tough section of the draw and came through it, I beat Raymond van Barneveld and gave Michael a game. It's been a great tournament for me so I can hopefully kick on now in the New Year."
Van Gerwen and Lewis will meet in Monday's second semi-final, with 2010 runner-up Simon Whitlock facing rising star Peter Wright in the opening last four contest, with the colourful Scot bidding to reach his first World Championship final.
World Darts Championship
Sunday December 29
Michael van Gerwen 5-3 Mark Webster
James Wade 1-5 Adrian Lewis
Best of nine sets
Monday December 30
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Best of 11 sets
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN 5-3 MARK WEBSTER
(3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 1-3, 3-0, 2-3, 0-3, 3-1)
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN reached the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship for a second successive year thanks to a 5-3 victory over Mark Webster.
The 2013 runner-up made an astonishing start as he won nine of the first 12 legs to establish a three-set lead inside 20 minutes.
Webster hit back to win the fourth set before van Gerwen took the fifth to move 4-1 up, seemingly assuring himself of a last four place.
Webster, though, continued to fight and gave his opponent something to think about as he won six of the next eight legs to reduce the gap to 4-3.
However, van Gerwen managed to find his range at the start of the eighth, breaking throw in the second leg with a 114 finish before ending the match in the fourth leg with a two-dart 90 checkout.
"My start to the game was brilliant and everything felt so easy when I was three nil up," said the Dutchman, who hit eight ton-plus finishes during the match.
"After that I seemed to lose focus and concentration, and it became a struggle, which I'm really disappointed about.
"I have something to work on now in the 24 hours leading up to my semi-final game, but I still fully believe I will be World Champion."
Van Gerwen produced an incredible start to the match as he hit three-ton plus finishes in a row to win the first set easily, taking out 121, 124 and 139, before dropping just one leg to take the second, which he completed with a 68 finish on double top.
The opening two legs of the third set were shared before van Gerwen ignited hopes of a nine-darter as he started the third with consecutive 180s.
Those hopes were ended when the Dutchman's attempt at a seventh treble 20 fell below the target, but won the leg in 13 darts to regain the lead.
Webster hit an excellent 98 finish to force a deciding leg in which he hit a 180, only for van Gerwen to reply with a maximum of his own before converting a brilliant 128 checkout to move further ahead.
Webster continued to fight and landed a 13-darter to win the first leg of the fourth, and regained the lead on double five in the third after van Gerwen had hit a 96 finish to level.
The Welshman, who came through his three previous matches in deciding sets, recorded a 102 finish to take the set and stop van Gerwen in his tracks.
The Dutchman responded brilliantly as he rattled through the fifth set with a 108 finish to win the first leg, a 15-darter in the second, followed by a superb 144 checkout to wrap up the set.
Webster took a 2-1 lead in the sixth, before van Gerwen won the fourth leg with a 105 finish, but the Welshman found form at vital time as he wom the deciding leg on double 15.
The former Lakeside Championship took that form into the seventh set, which he won without reply bytaking the first two legs with two-dart 89 and 70 finishes, before an accurate attempt at double ten cut the gap to 4-3.
Van Gerwen regained the advantage at the start of the eighth, as he broke throw with a clinical 114 finish to win the second leg and go a leg away from victory.
Webster kept up the fight by taking out 55 on double top, but van Gerwen ended the contest in the next as he hit a two-dart 90 finish to reach the last four.
1-0 - van Gerwen starts brilliantly with a 121 checkout for a 12-dart finish.
2-0 - The Dutchman breaks his opponent's throw with a 124 finish, on double eight, for another 12-dart leg.
3-0 - Webster hits a 180, but van Gerwen wins the leg with a 139 checkout - clinically taking out the combination with treble 20, treble 13 and tops - to wrap up a fantastic set of darts from the Dutch sensation.
1-0 - van Gerwen completes a 13-dart finish on double 12, which featured a second 180 from the 24-year-old.
2-0 - The Dutchman hits double 16 to win a fifth leg in a row.
2-1 - Webster hits double ten, with van Gerwen waiting on a two-darter, to win his first leg of the game.
3-1 - van Gerwen takes out a 68 finish, on double top, to establish a two-set lead in rapid time.
1-0 - van Gerwen holds throw on double six, having missed four opportunities at double 12.
1-1 - The number two seed misses double 16 for a 131 checkout, and Webster lands double ten to win just his second leg of the game.
2-1 - van Gerwen hits back-to-back 180s to ignite hopes of a nine-darter, but a missed attempt at a seventh treble 20 ends that chance before the Dutchman goes on to win the leg in 13-darts.
2-2 - Webster hits double 12 for an excellent 98 finish.
3-2 - The Welshman hits a 180 only for van Gerwen to reply in kind to leave 128, which he takes out in clinical fashion on double ten to move further ahead.
0-1 - van Gerwen starts the leg with a 180 to take command, but a 177 from Webster leaves double 12. The Dutchman commits a rare error as he misses one dart at double top, and Webster hits the finish to lead.
1-1 - The reigning Premier League Darts champion takes out a 96 finish to draw level.
1-2 - van Gerwen starts leg with a 170, but Webster ends it on double five to hold throw.
1-3 - Webster converts a 102 finish to win the set in impressive fashion.
1-0 - Webster misses two chances at double 16 to break throw, and van Gerwen makes his opponent pay by taking out a 108 finish.
2-0 - van Gerwen breaks throw with a 15-darter, completed with a 67 finish on double 12.
3-0 - The Dutchman hits the tenth 180 of the game before recording a 144 checkout to win the set.
0-1 - Webster finds the double ten with his third dart.
1-1 - The Welshman just misses the bullseye for a 170 checkout, and van Gerwen hits double eight to level.
1-2 - Webster hits double top for a 78 finish.
2-2 - van Gerwen converts a 105 checkout to move a leg away from victory.
2-3 - Webster finds form at a crucial time as he hits a 180 in the process of leaving 90 after nine darts, before hitting double 15 to keep the match alive.
0-1 - Webster takes out a two-dart 89 finish, with van Gerwen waiting on 74.
0-2 - The former Lakeside Champion continues the fine finishing as he takes out 70 in two darts.
0-3 - van Gerwen misses one dart at tops for a 72 finish, and Webster lands double ten to cut the gap to one set.
1-0 - van Gerwen hits back at the start of the set, as he breaks Webster's throw on double top.
2-0 - The Dutchman lands double top for a second leg running to post a 114 finish.
2-1 - Webster takes out 55 in two darts to hold throw.
3-1 - Webster hits a fourth 180 but van Gerwen converts a 90 in two darts to reach the semi-finals.
ADRIAN LEWIS 5-1 JAMES WADE
(3-1, 3-2, 3-2, 0-3, 3-0, 3-1)
ADRIAN LEWIS set up a semi-final showdown with Michael van Gerwen courtesy of a comfortable 5-1 victory against James Wade in their last eight encounter at the 2014 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
The 28-year-old opened up a three-set lead before Wade managed to claim the fourth set without reply, only for Lewis to win six of the next seven legs to ease past the world number six.
"Neither of us really performed tonight, but I'm pleased with achieving my aim of getting a good start," said Lewis, who lost to van Gerwen in an epic quarter-final clash 12 months ago.
"I'm really looking forward to playing Michael tomorrow night. We've had some brilliant battles in recent times, especially the quarter-final match here last year.
"I've come out on top in most of our games, but he beat me last time in Minehead a few weeks ago, so that gives me extra motivation for tomorrow night."
Lewis made the better start of the two players as he broke throw in the third leg, with the aid of a 180, before converting a two-dart 100 finish to seal the first set.
Wade produced a brilliant 142 checkout to win the second leg of set two and draw level, before both players missed a host of doubles over the next two legs, which were eventually shared, after Lewis missed three darts at double top to win the set.
Lewis, though, made no mistake in the deciding leg as he took out a 64 finish on double top, to move further ahead.
The third set also went the full distance, as Lewis missed two darts at double eight only to return following a missed dart at the bullseye from Wade, to hit double eight and take a third straight set.
Wade won the first leg of set four on double four, before Lewis flirted with the possibility of a nine-darter, after recording consecutive 180s at the start of the second.
That was not to be, and Wade then stunned his opponent as he took out a 121 finish to complete a second successive 12-darter, before the seven-time major winner wrapped up the set in the third, thanks to a 78 finish.
The two-time World Champion stopped Wade's momentum as he took the fifth set by a three nil scoreline to restore his advantage, in a set which featured a 115 checkout in the opening leg.
The world number six hit a 15-darter to open the sixth set, but a missed dart at double 11 for a 142 checkout saw Lewis hit double top to level.
Lewis broke throw in the third leg on double top, with the of a 177 score, before ending the contest in the following leg on double ten, to remain on course for a third World Championship title.
0-1 - Lewis misses five chances to hold throw before hitting double five.
1-1 - Wade hits a 180 but two chances to win the leg go begging. Lewis, though, misses two attempts of his own and Wade returns to hit double five.
1-2 - Lewis posts a maximum of his own, before rounding-off the leg on double top.
1-3 - Wade is made to pay for a missed dart at double eight, as Lewis takes out a clinical two-dart 100 finish, to win the set.
0-1 - Wade misses three shots at doubles, including two at double ten, before Lewis hits double 14 with an accurate third dart to break.
1-1 - The number six hits back with a superb 142 checkout, with his opponent waiting on a two-darter.
1-2 - Lewis hits a second 180 but misses six chances to win the leg. Wade, though, misses seven of his own and Lewis escapes by hitting double four.
2-2 - Both players hit 180s before Lewis wastes three chances to seal the set, and Wade lands double ten with a pressure third dart.
2-3 - Lewis converts a 64 finish on double top, to move two sets ahead.
0-1 - Wade posts a third 180 but two missed darts at double top prove costly, as Lewis takes the leg on double ten.
1-1 - The seven-time major champion lands double top with an accurate third dart to level.
1-2 - Lewis wins the third leg on double top to edge ahead.
2-2 - Wade hits a maximum, before holding throw on double 12, to force a deciding leg.
2-3 - The world number three misses two darts at double eight, but returns to hit double the same bed after Wade was off-target with an attempt at the bullseye to pinch the set.
1-0 - Wade hits double four to complete a 12-darter, after Lewis had left 40 after nine darts.
2-0 - Lewis hits consecutive 180s to raise hopes of a nine-darter. Lewis fails with the 141 combination, after missing his intended treble 17 target, and is then left stunned by Wade, who takes out a 121 finish for a second 12-darter in a row.
3-0 - Wade converts a 78 finish on double top to win the set, with his opponent waiting on double ten.
0-1 - Lewis starts the fifth in fine fashion with a 115 finish, on double 19.
0-2 - Wade hits the wire of double 12 for a 104 finish, and Lewis capitalises by hitting the same double, to break throw.
0-3 - Lewis starts the leg with a 180 before hitting double top to move a set away from a semi-final spot.
1-0 - Wade hits double 16 at the fifth attempt, for a 15-dart leg.
1-1 - Lewis misses three darts at double top, and Wade nearly capitalises, but he misses double 11 for a second 142 checkout, and Lewis returns to hit tops.
1-2 - The Stoke ace hits a brilliant 177 to leave 50, which he takes out in two darts on double top.
1-3 - Wade misses double ten for a 100 finish and Lewis hits the same double to end the contest.