Smith battles back to deny De Sousa in World Matchplay tie-break thriller

Michael Smith is through to the Quarter-Finals of the 2021 World Matchplay seeing off one of the main favourites for the title in Jose de Sousa in an absolute thriller.

Smith battled back from the brink to deny 'The Special One' in a tiebreak 13-11 with a 99.7 average to claim his place in the next round.

Smith started the better of the two to begin the tie having a slim 3-2 lead at the interval following in a 180 with a 64 checkout.

He soon move 4-2 ahead to go two clear for the first time and held to make it 5-2 to look to leave De Sousa in the dust.

But at the next interval, the game had a very different feel about it with three consecutive legs for De Sousa allowing himself to get back on level terms at 5-5.

Smith returned and hit back-to-back 180's before pinning double 20 regaining the lead in the process. But De Sousa held himself before gaining a potentially pivotal break with 80 on two double 20's to make it 7-6.

From one De Sousa trademark to another, he produced a miscount but got away with it by pinning double one to make it 8-6 and he made it two clear from there at 9-7 as he moved within only two of the Quarter-Finals.

But despite De Sousa then going one away at 10-8, Smith wasn't lying down and took out 71 to flip the match into a tiebreak with the first one of the tournament.

It was again though advantage De Sousa who took double eight to break but Smith fought on with an incredible 108 checkout to save it after De Sousa missed a match dart and he broke back.

It was now 'Bully Boy's turn to throw for the lead at 11-11 and he claimed it with double five to make it 12-11. Could he see the match out?

De Sousa got a shot at 108 to prolong the tie but missed it and Smith returned for 104 missing that himself for the match.

But again when given the chance, De Sousa didn't take it and Smith smashed in double 10 first time for the win.

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PDC World Matchplay Michael Smith

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