By Rod Harrington
Last Updated: 23rd December 2019
Michael van Gerwen continued his William Hill World Darts Championship title defence with a straight-sets success over Ricky Evans at London’s Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
The world number one hit more 180s than 140s as he breezed into the last 16 with ten maximums in a typically strong display.
A spirited Evans took Van Gerwen to a deciding leg in three of the four sets but the Dutchman struck at the crucial moments to ensure the quickfire 29-year-old did not win a set.
Stephen Bunting also claimed a 4-0 triumph earlier in the day, as he made it through to the last 16 of the World Darts Championship for the first time in five years by seeing off Jonny Clayton.
Former Lakeside champion Bunting secured the opening set without reply courtesy of a 140 finish and defied a 136 checkout and a 14-darter from the Welshman to edge the second 3-2.
Clayton took out a 138 combination in the third, which Bunting won 3-1 before the St Helens ace completed the win by edging set four in the fifth leg.
Nathan Aspinall’s bid to improve on last year’s World Darts Championship semi-final continued with a battling seven-set win over Krzysztof Ratajski.
The opening two sets were shared, with Ratajski edging the second courtesy of a 106 finish in the decider, before Aspinall took the next two with 3-1 and 3-2 scorelines to push towards victory.
Ratajski saved the game by winning set five in a deciding leg and produced a 13-darter in leg five of the sixth to send the match into a seventh set.
Aspinall, however, pounced on three missed doubles to lead in the final set before accelerating away to seal victory with a 116 checkout.
Steve Beaton reached the last 16 of the World Darts Championship for the first time in 16 years with a fabulous victory over James Wade.
Former Lakeside champion Beaton took the first set before coming back from two legs behind to steal set two and take control of the contest.
The next two sets were shared and 55-year-old Beaton won the sixth set 3-1 to complete victory by a margin of four sets to two.
Darius Labanauskas came from 2-1 down to defeat Max Hopp 4-2 as the Lithuanian thrower moved into the last 16 at Alexandra Palace for the first time.
The opening two sets were shared with 3-1 scorelines before Hopp came from a leg down in the third to move 2-1 up in the tie with the aid of a 114 finish.
Labanauskas landed a 12-darter as he won the fourth set 3-1, before taking the fifth without reply and the sixth by a 3-2 margin to punish misses from the German and claim the win.
Kim Huybrechts produced another solid performance to see off Danny Noppert in six sets.
The Belgian ace found himself 2-1 down in sets but bounced back by winning nine out of 11 legs to close out the win, which he sealed with a spectacular 150 checkout.
December 22 afternoon session results:
Stephen Bunting 4-0 Jonny Clayton
Darius Labanauskas 4-2 Max Hopp
Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
December 22 evening session results:
Steve Beaton 4-2 James Wade
Kim Huybrechts 4-2 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Ricky Evans