PDC world darts: Van Gerwen and Smith march on, Cross and Humphries go out | PDC World Championships
Michael van Gerwen powered past his Dutch compatriot, Dirk van Duijvenbode, with a 4-1 win to reach the PDC world championship quarter-finals. Elsewhere, Michael Smith advanced but two of the other top six seeds, Rob Cross and Luke Humphries, bowed out on a dramatic day.
Van Gerwen, the three-times former champion at Alexandra Palace, took a two-set lead despite his opponent claiming a leg with a 170 checkout. Van Duijvenbode got on the board by taking the third set but Van Gerwen closed out the match ruthlessly, averaging 100.42 and landing 13 of 30 doubles.
Despite his comprehensive win, Van Gerwen described his performance as “average” afterwards. “I played OK, but I had too many poor legs. I’m full of confidence, but you need to stay sharp. It’s amazing here, the crowd are so nice to me and they give me energy. There’s a lot to fight for, but I have to stay focused.”
Van Gerwen’s next opponent will be Chris Dobey, after the No 22 seed defeated Cross 4-2 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time. In a high-quality contest, Cross edged into a 2-1 lead but the turning point came in the fourth set with Dobey, conqueror of Gary Anderson in the third round, landing a 170 checkout to draw level.
Dobey then broke in the opening leg of the fifth set and held his nerve to close out victory, holding his throw eight times in a row and averaging 102.13 to Cross’s 100.01. “Best result of my career, 100%,” Dobey said after eliminating another former world champion. “I’m still in the competition, so there’s no reason I can’t go all the way.”
Humphries, the No 5 seed, was beaten by Stephen Bunting as the former BDO world champion continued his impressive run. Bunting, a semi-finalist here in 2021, raced through the first two sets and while Humphries briefly threatened a comeback, he was outplayed on scoring and finishing, with Bunting hitting 13 of 28 doubles.
“If you’re gonna play your best darts, this is the place to play them,” Bunting said afterwards. “I’ve been practising hard, working on hitting the big scores, and I’m a threat to anybody in this tournament.”
Michael Smith will be Bunting’s opponent in the last eight after he eased through a potentially tricky contest with Joe Cullen, prevailing 4-1 on Friday afternoon. Smith, beaten in the 2022 final by Peter Wright, showed his title credentials with an average of 103.25 as he took charge of a game that looked a close battle early on.
At 1-1, Smith won four straight legs as he took the third set with his opponent struggling to land checkouts, particularly on double 10. Bradford’s Cullen produced a superb 153 checkout to stay in the fourth set but Smith broke throw twice to move one set from the finish line.
The No 4 seed threatened to close out victory with a nine-darter, faltering after seven perfect darts but sealing the win on double four. “I finally turned up and it felt good,” Smith told PDC.tv after booking his quarter-final place.
Gabriel Clemens has become the first German player to reach the quarter-finals after an impressive 4-1 victory over Scotland’s Alan Soutar. The two men were close on averages but Clemens proved the stronger finisher, checking out 85 and 92 in the third set to move ahead.
Clemens then fired in a 148 finish to set up a last-eight meeting with the world No 1, Gerwyn Price. “Gerwyn is the favourite, but I’ve played three good games on this stage,” Clemens said. “I will try to give him a good game and take my chances.”
Kim Huybrechts could not reproduce the form he showed in eliminating Wright, losing 4-0 to Dimitri Van den Bergh in an all-Belgian battle. Van den Bergh began with an 11-dart leg in a first-set whitewash, then fought back from 2-0 down in the second.
The No 15 seed then reeled off the last six legs in a dominant victory to reach his third Ally Pally quarter-final. He will face the No 7 seed, Jonny Clayton, on Sunday when the tournament resumes after a rest day on Saturday.
Quarter-final draw: (1) Gerwyn Price v Gabriel Clemens (25), (4) Michael Smith v Stephen Bunting (21), (15) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jonny Clayton (7), (3) Michael van Gerwen v Chris Dobey (22).