James Wade landed the first nine-darter at the World Championship since 2016; the left-hander relinquished a two-set cushion as he became the sixth top-10 player to exit the tournament; Daryl Gurney and Devon Petersen both claim victories
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 29/12/20 5:43pm
James Wade landed the first nine-dart finish at the World Darts Championship for five years, only to crash out against former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting on a dramatic afternoon at Alexandra Palace.
Wade posted his lowest average at the World Championship since 2014 as he relinquished a two-set lead, although he landed his third televised nine-darter midway through proceedings – the first at Alexandra Palace since January 2016.
Wade has enjoyed a glittering career, but the World Championship title has thus far proven elusive – with three semi-finals his best return in the sport’s showpiece event.
Tuesday Afternoon at the World Championship
|Round Three:||James Wade||2-4||Stephen Bunting|
|Round Three:||Daryl Gurney||4-1||Chris Dobey|
|Round Three:||Jason Lowe||0-4||Devon Petersen|
Tuesday Evening at the World Championship
|Round Three||Dave Chisnall||vs||Danny Noppert|
|Round Four||Gabriel Clemens||vs||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Round Four||Michael van Gerwen||vs||Joe Cullen|
Bunting dumps out nine-dart Wade
He was tipped by many to challenge for the Sid Waddell Trophy after making finals at the European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts over recent months, only to become the sixth top-10 player to exit the tournament.
This contest was touted as Wade’s combination finishing against Bunting’s power-scoring and that is how it transpired in the early exchanges, with Wade punishing profligacy from ‘The Bullet’ to establish a commanding cushion.
Bunting rallied from 2-0 down in the opening set to force a decider in which he had the advantage of throw, but he was left to rue squandering two set darts, as Wade capitalised with a two-dart 62 kill to strike first.
The second set followed a similar pattern. Bunting produced a delightful 121 combination to salvage the set, although he was unable to exploit the left-hander’s inconsistency in the scoring department, with Wade converting an eye-catching tops-tops finish to double his lead.
Bunting fought back in his opening-round win over Andy Boulton and he displayed similar fortitude against the nine-time major winner, wrapping up set three with a 14-darter to reduce the arrears, before ‘The Machine’ completely malfunctioned in the fourth.
The former BDO world champion was dominating the scoring stakes, reeling off three consecutive legs in 13, 13 and 15 darts to restore parity at two apiece, with Wade posting a paltry set average of 66.
Bunting struck first in set five to lead for the first time in the contest, only for Wade to respond in spectacular fashion – following up back-to-back 180s with the magical 141 finish to land the 10th nine-dart finish in PDC World Championship history.
Wade was formerly nicknamed ‘Double 009’ due to his proclivity in the nine-dart stakes, although he has largely been on the receiving end of perfection, with seven televised nine-darters landed against him – more than any other player.
Nevertheless, the nine-dart heroics failed to galvanise the world No 7 and Bunting remained undeterred, closing out a hard-fought fifth set to move to the cusp of the fourth round.
Wade had the advantage of throw in set six, yet after the pair traded four straight holds of throw, the trebles evaded Wade at a crucial juncture and ‘The Bullet’ cashed in, firing in a 14-darter to complete the comeback, which sets up a last-16 showdown against Ryan Searle.
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Sublime Gurney sees off Dobey
Daryl Gurney advanced to the last 16 at Alexandra Palace for just the second time with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Chris Dobey.
It has been a tumultuous 2020 campaign for Gurney, but the Northern Irishman turned on the style to book a meeting with Vincent van der Voort for a place in the last eight.
Dobey fought back from 2-0 down to defeat Jeff Smith in his opener and he did little wrong against a resurgent ‘Super Chin’, yet his average of 99.29 only yielded the solitary set.
Gurney drew first blood in a high-quality opener that saw all five legs go with throw, and he extended his advantage with a devastating spell in set two.
The monopoly with throw continued in the early stages of the second, until Gurney closed out a 13-dart break after Dobey had wired the bull for a 130 skin-saver.
The two-time major winner backed this up with a sublime 11-darter to double his tally, and while Dobey responded with heavy artillery of his own, his progress was stifled by the relentless world No 11.
‘Hollywood’ fired in three consecutive 140s in a third-set decider in a bid to halve the deficit, but he was left to rue a missed dart at double 13 as Gurney stretched his lead.
Dobey clinched the set his performance merited with legs of 12 and 14 darts in the fourth, although this proved to be no more than a consolation as Gurney sealed set five without reply to prevail with a 101.39 average – his best at the World Championship.
Dominant Devon breezes through
Devon Petersen breezed into the last 16 with a comprehensive straight-sets win over Jason Lowe in the afternoon’s finale.
The South African was not at his vintage best, but still posted nine maximums to ease past debutant Lowe, who was unable to replicate the performance that saw him dump out fourth-seed Michael Smith in round two.
Petersen’s superior scoring power saw him close out a scrappy opening set, before he enjoyed a huge slice of fortune to extend his lead following a dramatic conclusion to the second.
Lowe conjured up an inspired 135 checkout on the bull to seal control of set two, yet he failed to restore parity at one apiece – frittering away eight set darts as Petersen pounced.
‘The African Warrior’ cemented his advantage with a majestic 160 checkout which sealed set three and he continued the procession with a blistering barrage of scoring – legs of 11 and 13 darts edging him closer to victory.
Lowe stopped the rot with 72 and 81 checkouts to prolong proceedings, but the 48-year-old missed a dart at tops for a 119 finish to claim the set, and Petersen defused any prospect of a fightback with a clutch 78 kill to seal the deal.
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