Top seed Michael Van Gerwen survived two match darts against himself to beat Joe Cullen in a decision and reach the PDC World Championship quarter-finals. The remarkable comeback win of the triple champion capped a dramatic day at Alexandra Palace after James Wade had previously reached his first nine-darter at the five-year tournament.
MvG WINS ONE OF THE Greatest EVER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES! The heroics of Wade could not keep him from going down 4-2 to Stephen Bunting and it looked like van Gerwen, the favorite, would also be eliminated for a long time. Total misery for Joe Cullen, who misses the Bull’s two match darts and Michael van Gerwen takes the Ally Pally classic in the deciding leg instantly! Sensational, only. Pic.twitter.com/EpAd2CXK50- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 29, 2020 Cullen led 3-1 in sets and the 31-year-old from Bradford missed his first match dart at the Bull in the decisive leg of the sixth set after Van Gerwen had reduced the deficit. In the fourth leg of the deciding set, the outsider missed his second throw, also on the bull, and Van Gerwen took his opportunity to storm back and seal victory. Van Gerwen told Sky Sports: “He played phenomenally and he put me under pressure a lot of times and I had to do everything in my power to beat him. “After the 3-1 break, I still came back with a lot of confidence and I’m very happy I did that. ” 𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗘-𝗗𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗘𝗥! JAMES WADE PINS THE PERFECT LEG IN THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP!The first nine-darter at Ally Pally for five years!Incredible scenes pic.twitter.com/mnxq7ftUKi- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 29, 2020Wade’s historic nine-darter came early in the fifth set but was met with an understated response that punctuated an otherwise poor performance from the seventh seed. Despite fighting back from a two-set deficit to level, Wade lost the final two sets to finish the tournament with a disappointing average of just 87.94.Gary Anderson was the last to achieve the feat of a nine-darter in January 2016, but Wade’s nine-darter was the first in the tournament’s history to take place in an empty room. Bunting admitted the lack of fans probably played into his hands, saying, ” NINE-DARTER! JAMES WADE PINS THE PERFECT LEG IN THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP! For five years, the first nine-darter at Ally Pally! Incredible scenes pic.twitter.com/mnxq7ftUKi- PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 29, 2020 Wade’s historic nine-darter arrived early in the fifth set, but was met with an understated response that punctuated an otherwise poor performance. “He hit the nine-darter and it was probably a bit of a blur for him and for me. If the crowd had been here, there would have been a hell of a roar for the rest of the game. “After James Wade’s nine-darter (Kieran Cleeves/PA)Krzysztof Ratajski became the first player to reach the quarter-finals after a dramatic victory over Gabriel Clemens of Germany, Stephen Bunting, left, had the last laugh. In the first six legs of his match against Dutchman Danny Noppert, eighth seed Dave Chisnall lost but recovered to win 4-2 to book his place in the last 16.