Ladbrokes World Darts Championship - Day Three Round-Up
BRILLIANT BARNEY POWERS PAST SMITH AS HAMILTON, ANDERSON & DOLAN PROGRESS
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD lit up the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship with a sensational performance against Michael Smith on Sunday night, as Andy Hamilton, Gary Anderson and Brendan Dolan joined him in winning through to the second round at Alexandra Palace.
The Dutch star began his bid for a sixth World Championship title in scintillating style as he dropped only one leg in a straight sets win over youngster Smith, averaging a superb 108.31 in the process.
The performance was van Barneveld^s best in a World Championship as he responded to losing the game^s opening leg by winning nine in a row to sweep to victory in only 18 minutes, recording eight 180s, two 11-dart finishes and checkouts of 121 and 111.
Having won November^s Grand Slam of Darts, van Barneveld is now looking to end a six-year gap since claiming a World Championship title in the £1 million tournament.
"It^s an amazing performance and I^m really over the moon with this result," said van Barneveld. "Winning the Grand Slam of Darts has been a huge boost to my confidence and if I can win that then I can win every big tournament.
"If I keep playing like this, I can beat every player in the world."
Last year^s runner-up Hamilton, meanwhile, came from a set down to take a 3-1 win over James Richardson - the Northamptonshire-based bricklayer who had knocked out van Barneveld 12 months ago on his Alexandra Palace debut.
He raised hopes of causing another huge upset when he won the game^s opening set 3-1, but Hamilton produced a superb second set - which he won with legs of 14, 12 and 14 darts - before edging the next two in a deciding leg to progress.
"I went into the game thinking about what James did against Barney last year, and I shouldn^t have done that at all," said Hamilton. "When he won the first set I was in the same situation, but I dug in there and came out on top.
"I^m playing some great darts so I^ve got to go on from this now and look ahead to playing Richie Burnett. It will be a big game because we^ve never played before, and it should be a great game."
2011 finalist Gary Anderson defeated impressive Finnish debutant Jani Haavisto 3-1, with the newcomer giving his Scottish opponent a fright before succumbing.
Haavisto had seen off fellow countryman Jarkko Komula 4-2 in the preliminary round earlier in the evening, and after Anderson won the opening set of their first round contest in only four minutes, the 25-year-old edged the second to level.
Haavisto also took out finishes of 107 and 130 to share the first four legs of the third set before Anderson hit a key 64 finish to move 2-1 up in the game, before he also won the fourth set in a deciding leg to seal his last 32 place.
"I^m really pleased with that and I felt I played well," said Anderson, the number four seed. "For three years I^ve played a brilliant new international player and they^ve played really well, and Jani had a good go there.
"He hit a couple of 177s and big finishes, but I^m happy with the way I^m playing. In practice I^m playing well and I felt alright on stage, even when he was putting the pressure on me."
Northern Ireland^s Brendan Dolan was the night^s other winner as he took a straight sets win over debutant Mark Jones, the West Midlands thrower who has enjoyed his best season on the PDC circuit in 2012.
Dolan dropped only one leg and sealed victory with a 120 finish in a solid performance, but revealed afterwards that his participation in the tournament had been in doubt last week after he was laid low with a sickness bug.
"I felt awful right through last week and on Thursday I was considering whether I^d be able to travel over to London," revealed the 2011 World Grand Prix finalist.
"I^d improved enough by Friday and although I^m still not feeling great, this was a good performance and I^ve got a few days now to fully recover before the second round."
World number three James Wade, a semi-finalist last year, begins his challenge at Alexandra Palace on Monday night when he faces Eccles-based debutant Peter Hudson.
Two-time semi-finalist Mark Webster comes up against Stoke^s Ian White, colourful Peter Wright plays former World Youth Champion Arron Monk and Jamie Caven will play the winner of the preliminary round game between Spain^s Carlos Rodriguez and England^s John Bowles.
Ladbrokes World Darts Championship
Sunday December 17
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Mark Jones
Jarkko Komula 2-4 Jani Haavisto (P)
Andy Hamilton 3-1 James Richardson
Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 3-0 Jani Haavisto
Monday December 18 (7pm)
1x Preliminary Round, 4x First Round
Peter Wright v Arron Monk
Carlos Rodriguez v John Bowles (P)
Mark Webster v Ian White
James Wade v Peter Hudson
Jamie Caven v Rodriguez/Bowles
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Mark Jones
(3-0, 3-1, 3-0)
BRENDAN DOLAN produced an impressive display as he progressed to the last 32 of the 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship thanks to a 3-0 victory over Mark Jones.
Dolan, who suffered a first round exit in last year^s competition against Kim Huybrechts, dropped just one leg to the debutant from the West Midlands, despite being laid up with a sickness bug until only two days before his game.
"I was very nervous coming out tonight, but once I pocketed the first set I settled down a lot," admitted the former World Grand Prix finalist.
"I don^t have a great record in this tournament but I do feel a much more confident player these days.
"The run to the World Grand Prix final in Dublin last year was great, but to back it up with a couple of semi-final appearances on television this year builds the confidence."
Jones, making his debut in the World Championship after a strong season on the PDC ProTour, missed two darts at double 12 to take the opening leg, which was won by Dolan on double 16.
Dolan, a semi-finalist in the European Championship and World Grand Prix this year, broke Jones^ throw to win the second leg and then won the next with a 13-dart finish, to establish an early lead.
Dolan fired in a 180 at the start of set two but was guilty of missing four darts at doubles and Jones hit double eight to win his first leg on the Alexandra Palace stage.
The Northern Irishman, though, held throw in the second before hitting his third maximum in the next, followed by a 66 finish.
That gave Dolan a break of throw and two missed attempts at double 16 from Jones allowed the number 20 seed a chance at tops to win the set, which he duly converted.
Jones hit a 180 in the first leg of the third set, but it was not enough as Dolan hit double top to complete his second 13-darter of the contest.
The second leg saw Jones leave 16 after 15 darts, but he would not get a shot at double eight as Dolan took out an 80 finish to move a leg away from the match, and he crossed the finishing line in style by hitting a 120 checkout to end the contest.
Jani Haavisto 4-2 Jarkko Komula
JANI HAAVISTO overcame his more experienced Finnish counterpart Jarkko Komula with a 4-2 victory in the preliminary round of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Haavisto, making his televised debut, will now face the number five seed Gary Anderson later on Sunday evening in the first round of the tournament.
Komula, who topped the inaugural Scandinavian Order of Merit, settled the better of the two players to win the first leg against the darts, but Haavisto fired in a 180 in the second before levelling on double eight.
The third leg saw Komula leave 62 after 12 darts, but a missed dart at tops proved costly as his opponent hit the same double to lead the match.
The 25-year-old missed two darts at double top for a 3-1 lead, and Komula hit double 16 at the first time of asking to leave the game finely balanced.
Haavisto hit double eight to go a leg away from victory and then capitalised on three missed darts at doubles from his opponent as he hit double ten to secure a first round place.
Andy Hamilton 3-1 James Richardson
(1-3, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2)
ANDY HAMILTON came from a set down to defeat James Richardson 3-1 in the first round of the 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Sunday night.
Richardson had knocked out Raymond van Barneveld on his World Championship debut 12 months ago, and threatened to cause yet another major upset as he won the first set.
But Hamilton - last year^s runner-up - recovered to claim the next three sets and line up a last 32 clash against Welshman Richie Burnett.
"It was a tough battle but I came through it and I^m into the tournament now," said a relieved Hamilton.
"I started a bit slowly and James took full advantage, but in the second set I played good darts and held my nerve at the end to get the win."
Richardson converted 65 in two darts to win the first leg and hit double four to take the second after Hamilton missed seven chances to level.
Hamilton won the third leg with a clinical two-dart 100 checkout, but Richardson won the next on double top to claim the set, and evoke thoughts of another giant-killing upset.
However, Hamilton roared back to take the second set without reply and level the match, following a 14-darter with a 122 finish for a 12-darter, before another 14-dart finish wrapped up the set in only 40 darts.
Hamilton won his fourth leg in a row at the beginning of the second set, but Richardson landed a 177 on his way to taking the second.
The Rushden ace then took out 78 to win the third leg, but Hamilton levelled thanks to an accurate attempt at double 18 before posting double two to lead for the first time.
Richardson started the fourth set well as he took out 62 to win the opening leg, before Hamilton hit double five with a pressure third dart to claim the second.
Hamilton won the third leg with a fabulous 11-darter, which included two 180s, but Richardson won the fourth against the darts thanks to a 100 checkout for a 12-darter.
The deciding leg of the set proved to be a tense affair, as Hamilton initially missed three match darts only for Richardson to waste three chances to stay in the game as the Stoke ace returned to land double 16 for a second round place.
Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 Michael Smith
(3-1, 3-0, 3-0)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD produced the most impressive performance of the 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship to date as he brushed aside Michael Smith in an 18-minute demolition.
The Dutch star, who claimed an emotional victory in last month^s Grand Slam of Darts, dropped just one leg and ended the contest with a brilliant three-dart average of 108.31 - his highest in a World Championship.
He also landed eight 180s, hit seven perfect darts in one leg and finishes of 121 and 111, and will now play Brendan Dolan for a place in the last 16 as he bids to claim a sixth World Championship title.
"I feel like the happiest man in darts right now because I^m playing to a high standard and producing good averages," admitted van Barneveld, who admitted the win erased the memories of last year^s first round loss to James Richardson.
"When I lost here in the first round last year, it was the most disappointing moment of my career. It gave me motivation for 2012 and my hard work on the practice board has been paying off over the last month or so.
"I^ve been watching the other matches at home before coming here and the impression I got is that everyone was looking scared and not playing to their potential - but this is the World Championship, so come and play your best game!
"I feel great and if I can keep playing at this level then I can beat anyone."
Smith, who had lost in straight sets to another Dutchman, Co Stompe, on his World Championship debut 12 months ago, held throw to win the first leg before van Barneveld recorded a fabulous 11-dart finish to take the second, which featured a 180.
Van Barneveld hit another maximum in process of taking the third leg in 13 darts before hitting double 16 in the next to win the set in style.
Van Barneveld continued his superb form at the start of the second set as he converted a 121 checkout, despite a 180 from Smith.
The five-time World Champion won the second leg with another 11-dart finish before beginning the third with back-to-back 180s to ignite hopes of a nine-darter.
The seventh treble 20 was successfully hit but the attempt at treble 19 was just off-target, ending van Barneveld^s hopes of hitting his third nine-dart finish at Alexandra Palace, although he returned to land double 16 to move two sets clear.
Smith let three chances to win the first leg of the third set slip by and van Barneveld stepped in to hit double 16 before posting a 78 finish to move 2-0 up, and a 111 checkout for a 12-darter saw the Dutchman complete a fine performance.
Gary Anderson 3-1 Jani Haavisto
(3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2)
GARY ANDERSON was made to work hard by Finland^s Jani Haavisto before securing a second round place in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship with a four-set victory.
The Scot, who reached the final at Alexandra Palace two years ago, breezed through the first set in under four minutes and looked on-course for comfortable evening after a brilliant start.
However, Haavisto - who defeated fellow countryman Jarkko Komula earlier in the night in the preliminary round - produced some excellent darts to level the match before Anderson edged the next two sets to advance.
"I started great and felt really good but Jani was superb out there and it became very tough," said a relieved Anderson.
"I never find it easy in opening round games and I had a very tough one against Jyhan Artut last year, so it shows how good everyone is in this tournament.
"I^ve really struggled this year and it would great to end it by becoming World Champion, but there^s a long way to go before I start thinking about that."
Anderson stormed out of the starting blocks as he hit an 11-darter to win the first leg and won the second on double five, which included his 180 of the game.
The Scot then won the third leg to take the set without reply, as he converted a 79 finish to leave Haavisto trailing.
Haavisto won his first leg of the match at the start of set two, which included a 177 from the 25-year-old.
Anderson hit double eight to level the set before Haavisto hit another 177 in the process of taking the third leg.
Anderson landed double eight again to force a deciding leg, but Haavisto converted a fine 70 finish to level the match, with Anderson waiting on a two-darter.
The former Premier League champion won the first leg of the third set with a 13-darter before Haavisto recorded an excellent 107 finish to take the second.
Anderson hit double ten to regain the lead but Haavisto produced more fine finishing, as he took out 130 on double five to level at two-all, with Anderson waiting on 68.
The deciding leg saw Anderson hold the advantage of throw, and he made it count as he hit double eight with his third dart to complete a 64 finish and forge ahead for a second time.
Haavisto held throw at the beginning of the fourth set with the aid of his second 180, before Anderson won the second leg on double ten.
Anderson then broke the Finnish ace^s throw by hitting double ten for a 14-darter, only for Haavisto to show great nerve as he immediately broke back by landing double top with a pressure third dart.
The set^s deciding leg saw Anderson produce the better scoring, and he ended Haavisto^s brave challenge thanks to an accurate attempt at double top.