MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Gary Anderson secured their passage into the quarter-finals of the 2018/19 William Hill World Darts Championship at London's Alexandra Palace as the tournament resumed on Thursday.
Day 12 of the £2.5 million event saw 12 players continue their quest for the Sid Waddell Trophy, with the final four third round games and the first two last 16 clashes in the first day of action following the Christmas break.
Two-time World Champion Anderson survived a scare to see off Chris Dobey 4-3 in a thrilling contest which produced 28 180s between the pair.
Anderson's protégé Dobey charged into a 2-0 lead, before the Scot stormed back, taking sets three and four to level.
He then took a 2-0 lead in set five, only for Dobey to reel off three straight legs to take a 3-2 lead, and the sixth set also went to a deciding leg, which Anderson won thanks to a 13-darter to take the match to a deciding set.
The high-quality contest continued with three consecutive 12-dart holds of throw, with Dobey ahead 2-1, before Anderson came back once again to win three successive legs to seal his place in the quarter-finals following a tie-break.
"It was a hard game to win, hats off to Chris he played a great game and I pinched it in the end," said Anderson.
"At the moment my back is causing me pain and every dart hurts me but I'm trying really hard and I'll keep fighting."
Anderson's fellow former two-time World Champion Van Gerwen threw the highest average of the tournament so far as he secured a comfortable 4-1 victory over Adrian Lewis.
World number one Van Gerwen stormed into a two-set lead, and looked to be coasting as he went 2-0 up in the third before five missed doubles looked to have handed Lewis the advantage, as the Stoke ace halved the deficit to trail 2-1 in sets.
With the match in the balance at 2-2 in set four, Van Gerwen fired in a timely 11-dart leg to regain his two-set cushion before edging the fifth set 3-2 to seal a 4-1 victory and his passage into the last eight.
"I made myself work harder than I needed to," Van Gerwen admitted.
"I missed darts to go 3-0 up and I gave him too much confidence, I should never have put myself in that situation because Adrian puts the pressure on you.
"I had to be at my best and I'm feeling good and confident in myself, so from here I hope to build on this into the rest of the tournament."
In the third round, world number ten Michael Smith came from behind to see off John Henderson 4-2,
World number ten Smith found himself trailing 2-1 to Henderson, as the Scot landed two 116 finishes and a set-saving 161 checkout.
Smith rallied, set four in just 38 darts without the loss of a leg to level, before reeling off six of the last seven legs to secure his place in the last 16 where he will take on Ryan Searle.
The day's final third round games began as South Africa's Devon Petersen continued his memorable run with a 4-2 win over Steve West.
African Qualifier Petersen hit finishes of 139 and 120 to win sets two and three respectively to take a 2-1 lead, and, after West missed a dart at tops to take a 3-2 lead, Petersen found the double to go in front.
Another five darts at double top went begging for West to save the match, and Petersen stepped in to hit double eight and book his place in the last 16, while also securing his 2019 PDC Tour Card.
Emerging star Luke Humphries will face reigning champion Rob Cross in the last 16 after he recorded a 4-1 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh.
A winner of eight Development Tour titles, Humphries picked up where he left off from his 3-1 victory over Stephen Bunting by storming into a two-set lead, winning both on last-leg deciders.
World Youth Champion Van den Bergh pulled a set back, only for Humphries to slam the door in the Belgian's face by reeling off six of the last seven legs to seal his place in round four.
The final third round game of the tournament saw Benito van de Pas reach the last 16 for the fourth time in five years thanks to a 4-2 victory over Toni Alcinas.
Three-time ranking event winner Van de Pas fired himself into a two-set lead, only for Peter Wright's second round conqueror Alcinas to claw his way back into the contest at 2-2.
With set five finely poised at 2-2, Van de Pas found a stunning 149 finish to go win a crucial leg of the match and a 3-2 lead.
Van de Pas, who also hit a 160 finish in the match, made it a hat-trick of incredible ton-plus finishes with a 151 to take the sixth set to a decider which he won with a 15-dart leg to advance to round four, where he will face Brendan Dolan.
The fourth round concludes with the remaining six matches across two sessions on Friday, which include Cross' tie with Humphries, Dave Chisnall up against Jamie Lewis and James Wade's tie with Ryan Joyce.
Photos by Lawrence Lustig.
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday December 27
Devon Petersen 4-2 Steve West (R3) - REPORT
Luke Humphries 4-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh (R3) - REPORT
Michael Smith 4-2 John Henderson (R3) - REPORT
Benito van de Pas 4-2 Toni Alcinas (R3) - REPORT
Fourth Round x2
Gary Anderson 4-3 Chris Dobey - REPORT
Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Adrian Lewis - REPORT
Friday December 28
Afternoon Session (1230)
Fourth Round x3
Nathan Aspinall v Devon Petersen
Benito van de Pas v Brendan Dolan
Ryan Joyce v James Wade
Evening Session (1900)
Fourth Round x3
Ryan Searle v Michael Smith
Jamie Lewis v Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross v Luke Humphries