Justin Pipe denies claims he deliberately coughed to distract Bernie Smith
Last Updated: 22/12/17 12:46pm
Justin Pipe has denied claims he put off opponent Bernie Smith by coughing during their second-round match at the PDC World Darts Championship.
The 27th seed threw away a two-set lead against Smith before prevailing in a final-set decider, winning three consecutive legs to book a last-32 tie against Phil Taylor.
A statement from Pipe read: "I'm bitterly disappointed with the comments which were made on Sky Sports and it's not nice for me and my family to hear.
"I would never do something to put another player off and Bernie didn't say anything to me on the night. As far as I'm aware there is no issue from his side and this has been blown out of proportion.
"My focus is on preparing for my second round game against Phil Taylor on Saturday. It's an honour to playing him in his final tournament and I want to concentrate on that match."
Pipe dropped just one leg against the New Zealander on his way to winning the first two sets, only for Smith to win the next two and move 2-1 up in the final set.
Holding throw, Smith was left with 56 and found the single 16 with his first dart to leave two darts at the double for a place in round two.
After Smith went low with his effort at double 20 and only found the single, Pipe was seen coughing heavily as the unseeded player missed his second match-winning opportunity.
Pipe went on to win the leg to force a tie-break and also take the next two on his way to progressing, although the "cough-gate" incident caused plenty of negative reaction on social media.
"It looks absolutely despicable behaviour by a professional darts player," Wayne Mardle said during Sky Sports' coverage. "That was a tactic for advantage, that was a tactic to make Bernie Smith miss and he got his way."