It was another dramatic day at the World Championship.

And in the most dramatic match of the tournament so far, James Wade won the all-Unicorn clash with Seigo Asada in a tie-break.

Kim Huybrechts and Michael Smith joined Wade in the 3rd Round, but Joe Cullen suffered more World Championship woes.

Wade won the all-Unicorn 2nd Round clash with Seigo Asada 3-2, Huybrechts won nine straight legs against Daniel Larsson, while Smith was made to work before beating Ron Meulenkamp 3-1.

‘The Machine’ really had to battle against an inspired Asada. After a superb 130 on the bull, the Japanese star took the opening set but crucially he missed one dart at ‘tops’ for the second set and Wade hit back to level.

Asada took the third set in a deciding leg and Wade won set four to set up that dramatic decider.

Seigo had his chances. He missed two darts at D16 to break in the opening leg and then one at D11 to break in the fifth leg and he was continually punished by Wade who won the match 4-2 in the tie-break with a cool 86 finish.

Relief for Wade and a case of what might have been for Asada.

Huybrechts was sensational. Arguably his best TV display for over two years and he will now face Dave Chisnall in the 3rd Round. What a game that should be!

The Unicorn star averaged 103, hit six 180s and didn’t drop a single leg as he whitewashed Sweden’s Daniel Larsson.

Kim dedicated the win to his late mother. “It’s been very hard for the last couple of years coming to terms with losing her and she will always be my inspiration. I have been working very hard over recent months and I know I will be back better than ever.”

Smith will be very pleased to come through a tough tie against Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp. An end average of 98, seven 180s and a 50% success rate on the doubles.

There were three key moments in the match and the Unicorn star won them all.

In the first set, he hit a crucial 180 in the deciding leg. He took a two-set lead thanks to a brilliant 132 finish on the bull to break throw. Meulenkamp stayed in the match by taking set three but a determined Smith wasn’t to be denied.

We saw a magnificent fourth leg of the fourth set....180 Meulenkamp and Smith replied in kind. Another maximum from the Dutchman and Smith piled in another 180 as well. Meulenkamp missed D18 for a 101 check-out and Smith hit a superb 81 finish on the bull.

He broke throw and broke the Dutchman and finished the job on D10 in the next leg.

But there was another World Championship nightmare for Joe Cullen. It’s now eight 1st Round exits in nine years at the Alexandra Palace as he slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brendan Dolan.

Cullen never got going as he won only one leg in the entire match and averaged only 85 against an opponent who was excellent. A hugely disappointing end to what had been a good year.

And there was another big name casualty on Wednesday as Simon Whitlock was beaten 3-0 by Geordie Ryan Joyce.

Wednesday 1st Round results:

James Wilson 2-3 William O’Connor

Simon Whitlock 0-3 Ryan Joyce

Nathan Aspinall 3-0 Geert Nentjes

Noel Malicdem 3-2 Jeffrey de Graaf

2nd Round results:

Joe Cullen 0-3 Brendan Dolan

Kim Huybrechts 3-0 Daniel Larsson

Michael Smith 3-1 Ron Meulenkamp

James Wade 3-2 Seigo Asada

Story from STUART PYKE at the World Championship

Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC





Posted in Unicorn Darts