Two-time champion Gary Anderson cut a new look on the oche to fire his PDC World Darts Championship title hopes. The Flying Scotsman changed his glasses and darts after struggling to find his best form in the early rounds at Alexandra Palace.
Anderson’s tactic worked as he hit seven 180s and averaged 97.27 to beat Rob Cross 4-3 and reach his seventh world championship quarter-final in eight years. “I went back to the old darts and they were working a treat,” Anderson, world champion in 2015 and 2016, told Sky Sports. “I was doing all right. I was 3-1 up and made a complete mess of one leg. Rob stuck in and came back. But there were no nerves.
Cross, the 2018 world champion, claimed the first set but Anderson then won five successive legs and a 170 checkout helped him into a commanding 3-1 lead.
Anderson missed seven darts at a double for a 2-0 lead in the fifth set, and Cross – who produced a 144 checkout – stormed back to level proceedings in what was fast becoming an Ally Pally thriller. But Anderson kept his nerve and dominated the last set.
Peter Wright took out Ryan Searle 4-1 with the Scot’s scoring power – the 2020 world champion hit seven 180s and 20 140s – too much for his English rival. James Wade will meet Mervyn King in the last eight after coasting to a 4-0 win over Martijn Kleermaker. The Dutchman won only four legs as Wade moved to within one victory of a fourth World Championship semi-final appearance.
King, the veteran, made the last eight for the first time at Alexandra Palace since reaching the semi-finals in 2009 with a 4-3 comeback victory over Raymond Smith.
The 55-year-old Englishman fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 down before seizing the advantage in the final set with a spectacular 124 checkout on the bullseye.
Australian Smith missed four darts at double top in the next leg and King capitalised to complete a final-set whitewash.
“I could feel the atmosphere building and building as I made my comeback,” King said. “It was nice to be able to dig in and take advantage of it. I’ve got the game to make the final. It just depends if my proper game turns up.”
Luke Humphries reached his third quarter-final in four years with a 4-3 victory over Chris Dobey. Humphries had received a bye into the last 16 when Dave Chisnall tested positive for coronavirus, and will now meet Anderson in the last eight. Dobey soared into a 3-1 lead but Humphries turned the tide, with three ton-plus checkouts proving decisive.
“I got human at the end, my nerves kicked in,” said Humphries, who scored 177 to leave tops before missing match darts and finally finishing the job on double one.
“At the end my hand was shaking, my heart was going mad. Nerves got the better of me. It’s time for me to kick on now. The last two-quarter finals I was very new to the tour. But I’ve got more knowledge and experience now to go into the next game with more ambition to go further.”
Callan Rydz secured a quarter-final spot with a 4-1 victory over Alan Soutar. Rydz recovered from losing his first set of the tournament to breeze into the last eight for the first time.