- PDC World Championship
Van Gerwen, Newton cruise, Webster edges thriller
Michael Van Gerwen, Mark Webster and Wes Newton all came through Sunday's evening session at the PDC World Championship to move into the last 16 at Alexandra Palace.
World No. 2 Van Gerwen, the highest-ranked player left in the competition following Phil Taylor's elimination, dropped a set but recovered to ease past Kevin McDine.
The Dutchman clinched the opening set with a superb 11-darter, but McDine hit back with a series of 180s in the second to level the match.
Van Gerwen responded by winning the next six legs to move into a 3-1 lead, before falling two down in the fifth.
But the resilient 24-year-old hit back to win three on the bounce, including a clinical 98 finish, to seal his spot in the last 16, where he will face Gary Anderson.
"I played really well in patches tonight, but there is still a lot of improvement required," Van Gerwen, who will become world No. 1 if he wins the title, said.
"I need to play better in my next game against Gary and be more consistent. He has reached a world final before, and has looked very good in this tournament so far.
"It's a good feeling to still be involved going into Christmas. I'll enjoy the break and then come back a better on Sunday."
In what was by far the most thrilling match of the day, Webster came from 3-2 down and survived three match darts from John Henderson to scrape into the third round.
Webster recorded 108 and 14-dart finishes en route to taking the opening set, but Henderson squared the match with a 105 checkout in the deciding leg of the second.
World No. 29 Webster looked set to cruise to victory when he won the third set with reply, and even took the opening leg of the fourth before Henderson won three on the bounce to again draw level.
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Henderson then got a second wind and, despite missing a nine-dart opportunity in the fifth when he missed double 19 having hit seven consecutive treble-20s, he still took the set to move into a 3-2 lead.
2-1 up in the sixth, Henderson missed three darts at double-top to win the match before Webster took it at double-two. He went on to win the next leg to set up a deciding set, which Webster won 5-3.
"I thought I was dead and buried and John probably deserved to win after giving himself a chance for the match" Webster, 30, said.
"I felt really early on and was playing some really good stuff, but John kept digging in and developed a winning opportunity for himself.
I've had some luck tonight but I feel as though I deserve that after going through a barren 18 months or so, where I have lost a number of close games."
In the opening game of the evening session, Newton enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 victory over three-time world champion John Part.
Newton won six of the opening seven legs to establish a two-set lead before edging the third in a decider. Part took the first leg of the fourth, but Newton recovered to win three in a row, including finishes of 119 and 94 to set up a third-round tie with Robert Thornton.
"I didn't play brilliantly tonight to win 4-0, but I took some really good finishes when John was waiting on a double and I think that demoralised him," Newton, the world No. 8, said.
"Not many of the pundits have mentioned me as a contender for this title. I've reached a few major finals and have vast experience on big stages so I feel I've got a real chance."
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