Mighty Mike dethrones King
Dutchman through, Wizard battles on and Jaws bites back
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: December 28, 2011 5:30pm
Michael van Gerwen: First appearance in last 16
Michael van Gerwen produced a superb display to dump Mervyn King out of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship and set up a clash with Simon Whitlock in the last 16.
The young Dutchman hit fewer 180s and had a lower average than King, but had some brilliant checkouts including a 158 and 148 to see off his more experienced opponent 4-1.
King hit nine 180s to van Gerwen's five, but missed darts to win both the first and fourth sets, which could have gone either way. But the Dutchman held his nerve to see them out.
The 22-year-old stuck in two 180s when it mattered though, in what was the final leg of the match, which he took despite missing four darts at double to seal his first visit to the last 16 of the biggest tournament in darts.
"I hit the right shots at the right times and that proved to be really important for me," said van Gerwen. "I feel confident at the moment. I have reached the third round of this tournament for the first time and I hope to go further."
Van Gerwen plays former finalist Simon Whitlock in the last 16 after the Australian battled through the pain of an injured ankle and some slick arrows from Steve Beaton to go through 4-1.
Despite having a pin in his ankle and clearly only being able to hobble around, Whitlock hit five 180s and averaged over 96 to overcome a stern challenge from Beaton - who himself recently had a knee operation.
Beaton won the first two legs before Whitlock rattled off the next eight to go 2-0 up in sets, and two missed big numbers proved crucial for Beaton, who could just not get back on terms from there.
"The ankle's still hurting a bit but the arm's alright," said Whitlock after his win. "I'm stoked with that. I was in a battle in that match as Steve played really well. I just had a few opportunities and I had to take them so I feel pretty lucky to have got through that match today.
"There's so many good players around I feel anybody could win this tournament - including me. Michael's (van Gerwen) been playing very well the last few months and that's a big win for him over Merv, so it's going to be another tough one."
Jaws bites back
Former world number one Colin Lloyd ended Scott Rand's hopes with a clinical 4-1 victory to signal his intent to get back amongst the big hitters of darts after a lean few years.
Rand has turned professional on the back of his recent displays, and he didn't lose a leg in his impressive opening victory over Andy Smith in the opening round - and he certainly oozed confidence as he strode up to the big stage.
Lloyd is a two-time major winner though and he looked back to somewhere near his best as he took out some clinical finishes to dominate all the major action in the match.
None more so than at the end of the crucial fourth set. With the score 2-2 in legs and Rand needing just eight, Lloyd took out a huge 167 finish on the Bull to go 3-1 up and break his opponent's resistance.
A clearly fired-up Lloyd now faces either last year's beaten finalist Gary Anderson, the new tournament favourite, or Devon Petersen, who clash in Wednesday's evening session.