Top seed Gerwyn Price completed a comfortable 4-1 win over Jose de Sousa to book his place in the quarter-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
The Welsh world number one averaged just over 94 and hit eight 180s to move into the last eight as he targets a repeat of his 2021 success.
‘The Iceman’, who beat five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld 4-0 in the last round, will next face either Gabriel Clemens or Alan Soutar.
“I ground out a win. I just wanted to get up there and win, it doesn’t matter about the performance,” Price told a press conference broadcast by PDC media.
“It was just one of those games where I had to get over the winning line, and that is what I did.
“I was battling against myself and against him, but it is what it is – you come up against certain players and circumstances, so you just have to deal with it.
“I felt comfortable through the game and always felt I was going to win, it was just a matter of time.”
Earlier on Thursday, Dirk van Duijvenbode edged out Ross Smith 4-3 after securing the final set on a thrilling sudden-death tiebreaker in a high-quality match which saw a record 31 maximums thrown during a best-of-seven contest.
After surviving five missed match darts by ‘Smudger’ Smith, Van Duijvenbode progressed 6-5 in the decider and goes on to face fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, a three-time former champion, for a place in the quarter-finals.
Rob Cross, world champion in 2018, coasted past Mervyn King 4-1 with an average of 99.7 and five 180s to progress to the last 16.
Sixth seed Cross will next face Chris Dobey, who had ended the hopes of two-time former winner Gary Anderson in the third round on Wednesday.
The final match of Thursday’s afternoon session at the Palace saw Stephen Bunting defeat Dave Chisnall 4-2 as he booked a fourth-round date with Luke Humphries.
Bunting ended a run of eight defeats against fellow St Helens player Chisnall with an average of just over 102, which included nine 180s and three ton-plus checkouts.
Humphries secured his place in the last 16 with a 4-3 win over Vincent van der Voort in the opening match of Thursday’s evening session.
‘Cool Hand Luke’ had been 2-0 up before Dutchman Van der Voort rallied to level the match and then again at 3-3.
World number five Humphries recovered to take the decider in straight legs, finishing with a 96.5 match average and having landed eight maximums.
Thursday’s late match saw Jonny Clayton come from behind to defeat Josh Rock 4-3 and reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Welshman Clayton, the seventh seed, fought back after trailing 3-2 to force a deciding set in which he won all three legs.
Clayton’s highest checkout was 122 as he hit eight maximums with an average of just under 98 to finally end the run of the 21-year-old, who shocked Nathan Aspinall in the last round.
Published: 30/12/2022 by Radio NewsHub