Smith Topples The Wall

Michael Smith continued his bid for a first Cazoo World Championship title as he battled back to deny Martin Schindler on an epic day of third round action on Wednesday.

Two-time World Championship runner-up Smith fought back from 3-1 down to edge out Schindler in a seven-set thriller, defying ten 180s from the diminutive German to preserve his title hopes.

Schindler drew first blood with a ton-plus average, but a sensational 170 checkout from Smith – the second of the tournament – helped the St Helens star restore parity at one set apiece.

The German was undeterred, regaining the initiative with an 11-darter to clinch set three, and he followed that up with an 84 finish and a 128 on the bull to move a set away from a landmark victory.

However, Smith – a winner at last month’s Grand Slam of Darts – underlined his credentials with a superb fightback, following up a 72 skin-saver in set five with a 114 checkout which turned the tide in the sixth.Schindler continued to battle valiantly, but Smith’s experience paid dividends in the closing stages, as a clutch 83 combination and a 13-dart hold on tops catapulted the fourth seed through.

“I can’t really put it into words. I’m proud of myself for the way I came back,” said Smith, who averaged 95 and converted two ton-plus finishes to keep his hopes of lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy alive.

“I’ve not been at my best. I know I’ve got so much more to give. I know I’m playing well, I know my game is there, it’s just not come out yet.

“You have got to show your character and I have had to do that twice now. You need to get over these scares to hopefully win the event.”

Smith will now take on fellow Englishman Joe Cullen in a blockbuster last 16 showdown.

Thursday’s action will see the remaining third round ties take place, with 2018 World Champion Rob Cross and fifth seed Luke Humphries among the names in action.

World number one Price then kicks off the last 16 action against De Sousa on Thursday evening, before Jonny Clayton and World Youth Champion Josh Rock lock horns for a place in the quarter-finals.

2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 28
Afternoon Session
3x Third Round
Jose de Sousa 4-3 Ryan Searle (1-3, 2-3, 1-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-1, 3-1)
Alan Soutar 4-2 Danny Noppert (1-3, 0-3, 3-1, 3-0, 3-1, 3-0)
Chris Dobey 4-1 Gary Anderson (0-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-1)

Evening Session
3x Third Round
Joe Cullen 4-0 Damon Heta (3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 3-0)
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Mensur Suljovic (3-2, 3-2, 1-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1)
Michael Smith 4-3 Martin Schindler (2-3, 3-0, 2-3, 1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-1)

Thursday December 29
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Third Round
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ross Smith
Rob Cross v Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round
Luke Humphries v Vincent van der Voort (R3)
Gerwyn Price v Jose de Sousa (R4)
Jonny Clayton v Josh Rock (R4)

Friday December 30
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Fourth Round
Kim Huybrechts v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gabriel Clemens v Alan Soutar
Michael Smith v Joe Cullen

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x Fourth Round
Rob Cross/Mervyn King v Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Ross Smith
Luke Humphries/Vincent van der Voort v Dave Chisnall/Stephen Bunting


Images: Simon O’Connor / PDC

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