Seigo Asada played one of the matches of his life to take his place in the 2nd Round at the World Championship.
The Unicorn star battled from two sets down to beat Krzysztof Ratajski on Tuesday at the Alexandra Palace.
And there was double success for Team Unicorn as Dimitri van den Bergh beat American Chuck Puleo by three sets to nil.
For Asada though, one of the most significant wins of his steel tip darting career and there’s no doubt the highly competitive PDC Asian Tour has made a big difference for the Japanese star.
And what a 2nd Round clash on Wednesday night to look forward to because Asada has lined up an all Unicorn match up against James Wade.
A brilliant comeback from two sets down, showing a lot of class and courage along the way against an in form Ratajski.
“I never gave up. All I needed was a chance and then I took it,” he said. “The match with James will be very special.”
Asada lost the opening set despite throwing for it in a deciding leg and he was soon two sets behind. But it was only the beginning for the Team Unicorn Japanese man.
A 180 and a 121 finish for a superb 12 darter to break, then he took the set on ‘tops’. The fourth set saw four breaks of throw but it was Asada who took it when the pressure started to affect his Polish opponent.
The final set saw most of the drama as first Ratajski broke then a 70 finish from Seigo saw him hit straight back. Ratajski missed three darts to break again. Asada took control and won it superbly with a two dart 96 finish.
It was a lacklustre display from Dimitri but he got the job done and that’s all that matters.
The American was making his World Championship debut and struggled as the Belgian raced through the first set without reply.
Although Van den Bergh was far from his best, he took the second set losing only one leg, but the third set was much more competitive.
Despite a superb 144 finish from Dimitri, Puleo forced a deciding leg and actually missed two darts at D16 for the set before the Belgian hit ‘tops’ and he will face Welshman Jonny Clayton in round two on Friday night.
Meanwhile Kim Huybrechts now knows he will face Daniel Larsson in the 2nd Round after the Swede scored an upset 3-1 win over Robert Thornton.
Tuesday 1st Round results:
Robert Thornton 1-3 Daniel Larsson
Ricky Evans 1-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Krzysztof Ratajski 2-3 Seigo Asada
Steve Lennon 3-0 James Bailey
Ron Meulenkamp 3-2 Diogo Portela
Dimitri van den Bergh 3-0 Chuck Puleo
2nd Round results:
Darren Webster 0-3 Vincent van der Voort
Daryl Gurney 3-0 Ross Smith
By STUART PYKE in London