Adrian Lewis made a rousing comeback to defeat Jim Williams in their BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts decider as the group stage concluded in Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
Two-time World Champion Lewis was staring defeat in the face as Welsh ace Williams – the BDO World Trophy champion – took a 3-1 lead in their winner-takes-all Group A contest.
However, Lewis produced checkouts of 86 and 75 to level the contest, punishing Williams for failing to give himself a dart at a double when needing 90 in leg seven before sealing the win with a 113 checkout.
“I’m really pleased,” said Lewis. “I let him in early on and I was trying too hard but I relaxed and gave it everything I’d got.
“I’ve only won one game this year on TV but I’ve put so much work in. The longer distance in the second round will suit me and we’ll see where my game’s at.”
Lewis joined Michael van Gerwen in progressing from Group A, with the Dutchman turning on the style to claim a third straight win of the round-robin phase.
World Champion Van Gerwen followed up victories over Williams and Lewis with his best performance of the week so far at the Aldersley Leisure Village, averaging 111.38 to see off Smith.
Kent’s Smith had won the pair’s last meeting at October’s European Championship, but had no answer to Van Gerwen’s early three-leg blitz before the world number one completed a commanding win.
“I’m feeling really good,” said Van Gerwen. “I can’t complain with a 111 average and I’m full of confidence going into the next round.
“I had two poor legs but the rest was great because Ross is a good player. I feel good so far and I can look forward to the next game on Thursday.”
Van Gerwen now plays Ian White in round two on Thursday, after the Stoke ace secured progression from the group stage for the first time with a 5-4 defeat of Wesley Harms in their Group B decider.
White led 3-0 before Harms levelled, and the Dutchman took the game to a ninth leg in which the pair landed 180s before White pinned double eight to progress.
James Wade went through alongside White from Group B despite losing 5-4 to Steve Lennon, who exits the tournament on Leg Difference.
Wade took an early 3-0 lead, the requisite three legs which meant he could not be overtaken by the Irishman.
Lennon hit back with four in a row, and though Wade forced a deciding leg the Irish ace landed double 14 for the win.
Reigning champion Gerwyn Price stormed into the second round with a superb 5-2 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh, securing top spot in Group C.
“I’m very relieved and once I got to four legs I knew I was through but I wanted to get the win to top the group,” said Price.
“I was a bit edgy because I knew I had to win still and I didn’t make it easy but I took my opportunity to finish the game off in the end.
“In my first two games I didn’t play as well as I could but I let myself go today and I was back to my old self. I’m enjoying it and hopefully I can go on and defend my title now.”
Robert Thornton joined Price in qualifying from Group C as the former Wolverhampton finalist continued his renaissance with a 5-3 win over Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki.
Darren Webster secured qualification from Group D alongside Gary Anderson with a 5-4 win over the Scot, averaging 100.86 as both players progress to the last 16.
“I’ve done a job tonight and I’m proud of myself,” said Webster. “I knew I needed to win two legs so once I did that I could relax and it was great to win.
“I never give up and to beat Gary up there is great – it will give me a lot of confidence. I’ve been struggling for most of the year but my arm’s recovered now and I’m practising well. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Dave Parletti ended the event with his first televised victory, defeating William O’Connor 5-2 to end the Irish star’s hopes in the other Group D tie.
The second round begins on Wednesday with the opening four matches, including the huge fixture between world number two Rob Cross and 2017 Grand Slam runner-up Peter Wright.
World Championship finalist Michael Smith meets Daryl Gurney, while Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant takes on Germany’s Gabriel Clemens and former Grand Slam runner-up Dave Chisnall plays qualifier Ryan Harrington.
BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts
Tuesday November 12
Groups A-D Final Matches
Ian White 5-4 Wesley Harms (B)
Steve Lennon 5-4 James Wade (B)
Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Ross Smith (A)
Robert Thornton 5-3 Mikuru Suzuki (C)
Gerwyn Price 5-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh (C)
Dave Parletti 5-2 William O’Connor (D)
Darren Webster 5-4 Gary Anderson (D)
Adrian Lewis 5-3 Jim Williams (A)
Wednesday November 13 (1900 GMT)
Second Round x4
Dave Chisnall v Ryan Harrington
Gabriel Clemens v Glen Durrant
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Thursday November 14 (1900 GMT)
Second Round x4
James Wade v Adrian Lewis
Gerwyn Price v Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Ian White
Gary Anderson v Robert Thornton
Second Round: Best of 19 legs
Final Groups A-D Tables
|Michael van Gerwen (Q)||3||3||0||+9||6|
|Ross Smith (E)||3||0||3||-10||0|
|James Wade (Q)||3||2||1||+3||4|
|Ian White (Q)||3||2||1||+3||4|
|Steve Lennon (E)||3||2||1||-1||4|
|Wesley Harms (E)||3||0||3||-5||0|
|Gerwyn Price (Q)||3||3||0||+6||6|
|Robert Thornton (Q)||3||2||1||+2||4|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh (E)||3||1||1||0||2|
|Mikuru Suzuki (E)||3||0||3||-8||0|
|Gary Anderson (Q)||3||2||1||+5||4|
|Darren Webster (Q)||3||2||1||+2||4|
|William O’Connor (E)||3||1||2||-3||2|
|Dave Parletti (E)||3||1||2||-4||2|