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World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen recovers from nervy start to battle past Chas Barstow – Sky Sports

Josh Gorton

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The Dutchman kicks off his bid for a fourth World Championship crown with a hard-fought 3-1 win over debutant Chas Barstow; Rowby-John Rodriguez, Jim Williams and Adam Hunt also prevail on Saturday night at Ally Pally

Last Updated: 19/12/21 7:19am

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A look back at the top action from day four’s evening session of the World Darts Championship.
A look back at the top action from day four’s evening session of the World Darts Championship.

Three-time winner Michael van Gerwen was forced to recover from a tentative start in his World Darts Championship opener, before battling past debutant Chas Barstow in an entertaining affair on Saturday night.

Van Gerwen – making his 15th Alexandra Palace appearance – is bidding to lift his first major title of the season after enduring his longest drought since his breakthrough success at the 2012 World Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old has produced a series of irrepressible displays over recent months, although he has been unable to translate that into silverware, and he was given an early fright by a fearless Barstow, who toppled John Norman Jr in round one.

Van Gerwen received a rapturous reception from the partisan crowd in north London, but the Dutchman was left shell-shocked after surrendering the opening set in dramatic fashion.

World Darts Championship – Saturday evening results

R1 Adam Hunt 3-0 Boris Krcmar
R1 Ted Evetts 1-3 Jim Williams
R1 Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-0 Nick Kenny
R2 Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Chas Barstow

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Despite losing the first set, Michael van Gerwen bounced back to win 3-1 against Chas Barstow in the second round
Despite losing the first set, Michael van Gerwen bounced back to win 3-1 against Chas Barstow in the second round

The pair traded four consecutive holds in a high-quality start to proceedings, but Van Gerwen squandered seven darts at double to draw first blood, and his frustration was compounded when Barstow converted a nerveless 116 kill on tops to snatch it.

Van Gerwen’s fragility on the outer ring continued in the early stages of set two as Barstow continued his charge, but two 61 finishes from MVG shifted the pendulum, and a clinical two-dart 80 combination restored parity at one set apiece.

World Darts Championship – Sunday at the Darts

Afternoon
R1 Maik Kuivenhoven vs Ky Smith
R1 Jason Heaver vs Gordon Mathers
R1 Alan Soutar vs Diogo Portela
R2 Stephen Bunting vs Ross Smith
Evening
R1 Martijn Kleermaker vs John Michael
R1 Florian Hempel vs Martin Schindler
R1 Steve Beaton vs Fallon Sherrock
R2 Jonny Clayton vs Keane Barry

‘The Green Machine’ inexplicably saw his doubling woes resurface early in set three, yet Barstow was unable to capitalise on this occasion, as MVG wrapped it up without reply to extend his winning run to six straight legs.

Barstow stopped the rot to open his account in set four, although a brilliant six-dart sequence from Van Gerwen catapulted him to victory, as he followed up a stunning visit of 174 by converting a 99 finish on double 16 to break throw.

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Chas Barstow capitalised on Michael van Gerwen’s missed doubles, taking out 116 to claim the first set
Chas Barstow capitalised on Michael van Gerwen’s missed doubles, taking out 116 to claim the first set

This gave Van Gerwen the opportunity to close it out, and he needed no further invitation, producing an identical 99 checkout to seal his progression in 12 darts.

“I’m not really happy with the way I played. I have to do better in the next round. I know that,” admitted Van Gerwen, who averaged 94.54 and fired in six 180s, despite missing 25 darts at double.

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Despite progressing to the third round, Michael van Gerwen was disappointed with his performance after defeating Chas Barstow 3-1.
Despite progressing to the third round, Michael van Gerwen was disappointed with his performance after defeating Chas Barstow 3-1.

“I think Chas played well in the beginning of the game, but I made it too hard for myself. I missed so many doubles, but at the end I won, that’s the most important thing. I never give up.”

Rowby-John Rodriguez will play UK Open finalist Luke Humphries in a mouth-watering second-round clash, after the Austrian produced one of the performances of the tournament thus far to dispatch Nick Kenny.

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Rowby-John Rodriguez was thrilled after securing his place in the second round at the World Darts Championship
Rowby-John Rodriguez was thrilled after securing his place in the second round at the World Darts Championship

The World Cup finalist impressed in reaching the knockout stages at last month’s Grand Slam, and he relinquished a solitary leg against the Welsh qualifier, averaging 97.5 in the process.

“I didn’t get a Tour Card at the beginning of the year and so I was relaxed to play on the Pro Tour. I qualified for the Worlds and I came here without any pressure. I have performed all year long,” the 27-year-old admitted.

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Rowby-John Rodriguez decimated Nick Kenny 3-0 in the first round at the World Darts Championship
Rowby-John Rodriguez decimated Nick Kenny 3-0 in the first round at the World Darts Championship

Former Lakeside finalist Jim Williams marked his Alexandra Palace bow with a 3-1 victory over World Youth champion Ted Evetts, who was punished for a profligate display on the outer ring.

Evetts failed to pin a double with his first 16 attempts and Williams duly capitalised, converting a classy 130 kill and winning the opening five legs without reply, but Evetts rallied, wrapping up set three with a sublime 112 average.

‘Super Ted’ also seized the early initiative in set four, but the Welshman responded, and a clinical 120 checkout in the penultimate leg proved decisive, as he prepares to take on 13th seed Joe Cullen in a fascinating last-64 tie.

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Jim Williams moved within one leg of victory against Ted Evetts after taking out 120
Jim Williams moved within one leg of victory against Ted Evetts after taking out 120

In the evening’s curtain-raiser, Adam Hunt produced a solid display to sweep aside Croatia’s Boris Krcmar in straight sets, to set up a tie with 29th seed Vincent van der Voort on Tuesday.

Krcmar posted a staggering 121.86 average in coming through last month’s PDPA qualifier, but he was unable to replicate those heroics on his third Alexandra Palace appearance, and Hunt crashed in five 180s en route to a convincing victory.

“I’m only 28 but I’ve been playing in the PDC for 10 years now, so I should really start pushing on a bit, and making inroads into the top 32 and the top 16,” Hunt reflected post-match.

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After defeating Boris Krcmar in round one, Adam Hunt is determined to make his mark at this year’s World Darts Championship
After defeating Boris Krcmar in round one, Adam Hunt is determined to make his mark at this year’s World Darts Championship

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