Lewis edges Wade epic
Adrian Lewis produced one of the greatest fightbacks to defeat James Wade and reach the final of the PDC World Championship.
Last Updated: 02/01/12 1:56am
Adrian Lewis produced one of the greatest fightbacks of all time to defeat James Wade and reach the final of the PDC World Championship, where he will meet fellow Stoke player Andy Hamilton.
'Jackpot' looked destined to relinquish his title when trailing Wade 5-1 in their semi-final, however an astonishing recovery saw him reel off 10 successive legs to claim victory.
Wade came into the last four clash having never lost to Lewis in a televised match in the knockout format and 'The Machine' started superbly, hitting three doubles from three to take the opening set in quick time.
Despite checkouts of 105 and 130, Lewis found himself 2-0 down as Wade capitalised on a loss of concentration from the defending champion.
Lewis was left visibly rattled by a draft which eventually forced the players to leave the stage, with the conditions clearly affecting their throw.
When they returned it was a familiar story for Lewis, who, despite registering his first 180, was broken early in the third set.
He responded like a true champion though, an 11-dart leg, a 13-darter and then a magnificent 114 checkout seeing him come back from the brink to take the set.
Unflustered, Wade then set off on a sparkling run of 100-plus checkouts to power 5-1 in front and within one set of his maiden World Championship final.
The left-hander from Aldershot averaged 113.4 in the fifth set and steamrollered through the sixth, making victory seemingly inevitable.
However, in what has been a tournament full of twists, the theme continued when Lewis took out 94 in two darts to make it 5-2.
Wade's average began to drop whilst Lewis' started to rise, though the former did have a dart for the match in the eighth set, only to see his attempt at double 18 go narrowly off target.
Lewis quickly made him pay with a clinical 98 checkout in two darts and the match was all of a sudden back in the balance.
Double 19 proved profitable again in the ninth, a set Lewis won in just over five minutes as the balance of the match shifted completely.
Lewis then kicked off set 10 with back-to-back 180s against the throw, eventually breaking Wade on double one. An 81 checkout saw him hold and a seventh successive leg levelled the match.
Wade was rattled by this point, evidenced when he missed big 17 to set up a shot at tops, and Lewis stepped in again to move ahead for the first time in the match.
Wade missed seven darts at doubles in the second leg of the final set and Lewis, who missed seven himself, eventually hit double one.
There was nothing streaky about the way Lewis booked his place in the final, though, a magnificent 161 finish completing victory in the early hours of Monday morning.
"That was the best win of my career, definitely," Lewis told Sky Sports HD1.
"Fair play to James, he could have won that 6-0 (had he not gone off). I love him to bits and told him this is the start of a rivalry.
"But that shows why I am world champion."
On his escape from defeat, when Wade slipped wide of double 18, Lewis added: "He had one dart in his hand, he missed double 18 and I knew it was do or die.
"That shows why I am the champion. There's no reason why I will not retain my title. I am the best in the world."