BIG guns Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis and James Wade all booked their places in the quarter-finals of darts’ Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay with victories at the £400,000 event in Blackpool last night.
The build-up to Sunday’s climax began in earnest as the Winter Gardens staged the first four second-round ties.
World Champion Adrian Lewis powered past Holland’s Vincent van der Voort 13-5.
The Stoke ace took command from the start, winning the first five legs.
Lewis ended the match with a show-stopping 170 checkout and said: “I was expecting more from Vincent but he didn’t get going.
“When I went 5-0 up I took my foot off the gas. I’ve come off with a 100 average but still think I was in second gear. I wasn’t pushed and I was relaxed all the way through the game.”
He will now play Welsh left-hander Mark Webster, who reeled off six successive legs and took out four ton-plus checkouts to defeat Steve Beaton 13-7 and become the first player through to tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
Webster followed up his first round defeat of John Part by knocking out another former World Champion as he broke a seven-all deadlock with a thrilling run, which included killer finishes of 158 and 142.
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld remains on course to reach his second successive Blackpool final following a 13-9 defeat of Paul Nicholson, who led 7-6 at one stage.
Barney had endured a disrupted preparation for his first round clash with Steve Brown after leaving his darts at home in Holland, but he booked his quarter-final spot with a strong display.
“It was a tough game so I’m happy to win it,” said van Barneveld.
“Paul is having a fantastic year. He’s a class player but tonight he let me in a couple of times and maybe I was the better finisher.
“I can play a lot better but I got the win. This tournament is very important to me. I want to make it to the final and I want to win it.”
Nicholson said: “Raymond hit the key shots but I think he was there for the taking but I don’t think I was sharp enough tonight to take him out.
“When I hit the 164 I thought that may be my trigger, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t hit enough 180s and 140s and I was always searching for my game.”
2007 World Matchplay champion James Wade produced a clinical display to see off plucky Mark Walsh, who trailed 6-2 and 9-5 before hitting back to trail by just one leg before the world No.3 sealed the win 13-11 with a 122 bullseye checkout.
Wade, the 2007 World Matchplay champion, set up a tasty quarter-final clash with Van Barneveld and said: “I’m really happy because I thought the game was slipping away at the end. It’s frustrating because I’m giving opportunities away and being careless. This performance may be good enough to beat Raymond in the quarter-finals but I still want to play better.”
Before then, the second round concludes tonight when all Fylde coast eyes will be on Wes Newton, who faces Taunton’s Justin Pipe.
Fans of Fleetwood’s finest must be prepared for a late night, though, with this final last-16 tie not due to begin until 10.40pm.
It will be preceded by reigning champion Phil Taylor’s clash with Wolverhampton’s Wayne Jones, following the world No.1’s first-round scare against Mark Hylton.
Simon Whitlock is first up against Denis Ovens, conqueror of Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter, then Andy Hamilton faces another Scot in John Henderson after knocking out second-favourite Gary Anderson in the shock of the tournament so far.