Gary Anderson survived a scare on Saturday evening as he came from 1-0 down to eventually see off Jermaine Wattimena in a deciding set.
Anderson – who could potentially meet Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals – was forced to survive a match dart at the bullseye from an inspired Wattimena, but closed out a narrow victory to reach the fourth round at Alexandra Palace.
Both made flying starts; hitting maximums for fun. It was Wattimena who took the opening leg courtesy of a scintillating 142 checkout. The Dutchman went on to narrowly grasp the opening set 3-2; hitting a rare 21-dart leg to gain a 1-0 advantage.
Anderson fought back as he fired in two maximums and a 110 checkout en route to levelling up the clash before hitting double 10 twice to move 2-0 up in set three and lead in the match for the first time. A 117 checkout for Wattimena decreased the deficit, only for Anderson to hit a 14-darter to close out the set and race into a 2-1 lead.
‘The Machine Gun’ came from behind to send set four to a deciding leg, only to see his chance scuppered by his missed dart at the bullseye and Anderson pinning tops with one dart in hand.
Wattimena completed a stunning set of darts, as he hit 14, 15 and 11 dart legs to win his second set of the match, reduce Anderson’s lead and keep his hopes of a historic win alive.
Into another set-decider
Anderson squandered five darts for the match in the following set as Wattimena battled back from 2-0 down to hit a 71 checkout and send the match to a deserved deciding set.
Wattimena had the throw in the deciding set and held it well; hitting a 104 checkout to go 3-2 up, only for three missed darts at the bullseye for 170 checkouts, including one for match, to cost the Dutchman. Anderson pinned a 68 checkout on double two to close out a narrow victory on his birthday.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ will face either Vincent van der Voort or Chris Dobey in the fourth round as he sets sight on a third World Championship title.
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Evening session schedule
Ryan Searle (89.40) 3-1 (89.76) William O’Connor (R3, 1-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0)
Gary Anderson (97.33) 4-3 (95.16) Jermaine Wattimena (2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-2, 1-3, 5-3)
21:30 Michael van Gerwen vs Max Hopp (R3)
Tags: Gary Anderson, Jermaine Wattimena, PDC World Darts Championship 2019
POSSIBLY GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FAR
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 22, 2018