- World Darts Championship
Lethargic Lewis avoids Ovens roasting
Defending champion Adrian Lewis failed to ease concerns over his form as he booked his place in the third round of the World Darts Championship with a 4-1 victory over Denis Ovens.
Despite the scoreline, it was not a vintage performance from the two-time champion, who never looked comfortable on the oche.
Lewis raced to a 2-0 lead, but he was pegged back by a determined Ovens, who broke throw early in the third set before capitalising on some woeful throwing by the No. 2 seed. Stepping up with five left to keep the third set alive, Lewis failed to check out, and Ovens made no mistake as he claimed the third set to claw himself back in the match.
Lewis responded immediately with a 12-dart leg to break early in the fourth set, but Ovens replied to level. With both players guilty of some ineffective darts, Lewis edged closer to victory by winning the fourth set.
Ovens produced his highest checkout of the tournament to keep the match alive in the dying stages, but Lewis got over the line to set up a last-16 clash with Kevin Painter.
"It wasn't brilliant but I got over the line," Lewis said on Sky Sports. "I hit the right shots at the right time, the majority of the time. But I'm just happy to be through. There's always room for improvement, it wasn't brilliant tonight but I got a job done."
There was no doubting Simon Whitlock's performance as he breezed into the third round with a 4-0 win over Colin Osborne. The Australian, seeded fifth at Alexandra Palace, dropped just four legs as he averaged 96.34 to set up a third-round clash with Dave Chisnall.
"I felt I produced a fairly solid display tonight, and the 164 checkout was definitely the highlight," Whitlock said. "I certainly I have much more in locker and I will need to bring that against Dave Chisnall. He's a superb player and we have had some good battles recently, and I feel this will be no different."
Wes Newton also eased into the last 16 with a 4-0 victory over Scott Rand. Rand, who knocked out Kim Huybrechts in the opening round, started in a similar vein as he hit a 180 with his first three darts, but Newton produced a superb 144 checkout in the third leg en route to edging a high-quality first set.
Newton broke throw early in the second, and he hit his third three-figure checkout to double his lead. Scores of 140, 180 and 140 helped Newton tighten his grip on the match, and despite a spirited performance from Rand, Newton streaked away to victory.