Smith gets there in the end!

Unicorn ace Michael Smith has set up a mouth-watering World Championship 2nd Round clash with the in-form Rob Cross. 

The St Helens star eventually squeezed past Steve Lennon by three sets to two at the Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night. 

Smith hit an incredible TEN 180s in the match but missed too many chances as well and he knows a 92 average won't be enough against Cross on Saturday afternoon. 

"I struggled for rhythm but found myself two sets up and then went to sleep for the next two sets. I was determined not to go to a tie break. I certainly need to be more consistent. I know I can play much better and I will have to against Rob who has had an incredible year," Smith said. 

He was very relieved for sure. It was an edgy performance but after all the 1st Round shocks that we've witnessed so far, it was all about the result. 

Smith hit 180s to start three out of the four legs as he took the first set and he followed that with some superb darts to move two sets clear. A 13 darter then a brilliant 150 finish. 

The Unicorn man switched off after that. He went two legs clear in set three and twice Smith threw for the match but ended up losing the set and Lennon quickly levelled at two sets apiece.

Thankfully Smith woke up and an 8th 180 and 84 check-out gave him the perfect start to the deciding set with a key break of throw. He then hit six perfect darts to double his lead and although Lennon got a leg back, D10 got the job done for Smith. 

He will get better. 

And we also saw an impressive debut from Chinese teenager Xiao Chen Zong in Unicorn colours. Yes, he lost his preliminary round tie to New Zealander Bernie Smith by two sets to nil, but Xiao hit three 180s and his average of 86.97 was the best by a Chinese star in a big TV tournament. He has a bright future ahead. 


Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Posted in Unicorn Darts