Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Mensur Suljovic victorious
After opening round of shocks, three of the world's top five advance to third round as Singapore Slinger falls one dart short of a nine-dart finish
By Paul Prenderville at Alexandra Palace
Last Updated: 23/12/17 8:16am
Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson eased into the last 16 of the World Darts Championship on a night when Paul Lim almost made history again.
The pair, who met in last year's final, have won the last four world titles between them and remain on course for another New Year's Day showdown after very different victories on Friday night.
Van Gerwen, who will meet Gerwyn Price in the third round, did not drop a leg as he blew away James Wilson with a 4-0 destruction that saw him average 108.65, the eighth highest in the history of the World Championship, in winning 12 successive legs.
Anderson has lost only one of his last 20 matches on the Alexandra Palace stage, his defeat to MVG last year ending his run after back-to-back titles, but like everyone else packed into the venue he was urging on 63-year-old Lim for a magical nine-darter.
The 2015 and 2016 champion had the best seat in the house as Lim missed a dart at double 12 after eight perfect darts, 28 years after he became the first man to achieve the feat at the World Championship when he did so at the Lakeside in 1990.
Amazingly, Lim went on to lose the leg but fought back to claim the third set before Anderson won through to a showdown with Jermaine Wattimena or Steve West thanks to a 4-1 victory.
The pair were joined in the last 16 by world no 5 Mensur Suljovic, who fired four 100+ finishes on his way to a 4-2 victory over Robert Thornton that sees him through to the third round.
|Gerwyn Price (16)||4-1||Ian White (17)|
|Vincent van der Voort||4-0||Steve Beaton (25)|
|Jan Dekker||2-4||Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Mensur Suljovic (2)||4-2||Robert Thornton (28)|
|Gary Anderson (3)||4-1||Paul Lim|
|Michael van Gerwen (1)||4-0||James Wilson (32)|
Van Gerwen's display only underlines his recent dominant form, the 28-year-old has won the Grand Slam, European Championship, World Series finals and Players Championship since his shock defeat to John Henderson at the World Grand Prix.
Wilson matched Van Gerwen for maximums and averaged 96 himself but was no match for the defending champion, who looked confident, relaxed and in the most ominous of form.
Anderson's hopes of another title remain on track, but after he cantered through the first two sets, the night all became about his opponent as Lim went close to his memorable moment on the biggest stage in darts.
With Anderson two sets to the good, and having fallen short it would have been easy for Lim to slip into the shadows but he rallied to take the third set, including a brilliant 10-dart leg that halted the Scot's run of seven consecutive legs.
Double four gave Lim, who knocked out Mark Webster in the first round, the set before normal service resumed soon after, Anderson finding double 12 for a 104 finish on his way to a third set and he then edged out the Singapore Slinger to seal his spot
In the night's opening match, Thornton took out double top on three separate occasions to ease to the opening set against Suljovic after the Austrian had opened up with the first leg of the contest.
With Suljovic out of sorts, averaging just under 77, Thornton took full advantage hitting double top on three occasions, including a brilliant 110 check-out to take the opening set.
The Austrian hit back to reel off three unanswered legs to claim the second set, with a magnificent 116 finish the highlight.
Back came Thornton again, hitting double top to punish wayward Suljovic darts and maintain a brilliant display of finishing that had seen him hit six of his first eight darts at doubles.
But the Champions League winner has a knack of remaining in contests despite not being at his best and he edged a scrappy fourth set to once again level the contest before the turning point in the fifth.
Having taken the first leg, Thornton missed darts for a 2-0 lead and Suljovic levelled before a third 100+ finish of the match took him into the lead for the first time since the opening leg of the match.
The Thorn responded with his second 100+ finish of the match to leave the pair locked at 2-2, 2-2. With the tension going up a notch, the pair traded missed set darts before Suljovic pinned double seven to go a set in front for the first time
Thornton battled back from two legs down to force the sixth set into a decider, but a magnificent 121 via the bullseye saw Suljovic though.
World Darts Championship - Last 16
|Michael van Gerwen (1)||v||Gerwyn Price (16)|
|Vincent van der Voort||v||Van Barneveld/K Anderson|
|Mensur Suljovic (5)||v||Dimitri van den Bergh|
|Gary Anderson (3)||v||West/Wattimena|
The 2018 World Championship from Alexandra Palace continues on Saturday with a double session, coverage is underway from 1pm on Sky Sports Darts with the evening session beginning at 7pm
Keep up to date with the news right through to the final on New Year's Day as the PDC celebrates 25 years on Sky Sports. So get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts