TRIO SECURE STRAIGHT SETS WINS AT WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP

JAMES WADE, Robert Thornton and Mensur Suljovic moved safely through to the second round of the William Hill World Darts Championship with straight sets victories on Wednesday at Alexandra Palace. 

Sixth seed Wade cruised past Ronny Huybrechts despite losing the first leg of each set, while Thornton defeated preliminary round winner Zoran Lerchbacher and Suljovic saw off Ron Meulenkamp.

Three-time semi-finalist Wade produced a moment of magic with a match-winning 141 checkout as he began his bid for a first World Championship title with a routine victory on the penultimate night of first round action. 

The left-hander - last month's Grand Slam of Darts runner-up - also hit finishes of 84, 120 and 62 as he set up a second clash against former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton.

"I've been playing well," said Wade, who recovered from losing the first set in every leg to his Belgian opponent to progress, sealing victory with a 141 finish. 

"My chances here are nothing to do with my results in other tournaments. What I've being doing in practice is a little bit special and it stands me in a good place for the rest of the tournament."

2015 quarter-finalist Thornton also enjoyed a comfortable success, with the 2015 World Grand Prix champion hitting four 180s in a three-set victory over Austrian qualifier Lerchbacher.

Lerchbacher had earlier come from a set behind to win his preliminary round match against Simon Stevenson but was unable to repeat his performance against the number nine seed. 

Thornton, who suffered a shock defeat in the first round against Alan Norris last year, will now take on Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney in the last 32.

"I just wanted to get past the first one," said the 2012 UK Open Champion.

"It was difficult to keep my rhythm but I got the job done. I know how Daryl plays so I'll be ready for him and I'll just take one game at a time and see how it goes."

Number eight seed Suljovic recovered from 2-0 deficit in the first set before losing just two more legs en route to victory against Dutch left-hander Meulenkamp.

The Austrian ace, who won his first PDC ranking title in 2016, hit two 180s and a 120 finish to set up a second round clash against Wales' Mark Webster.

Thursday sees the conclusion of the first round as Dave Chisnall takes on Rowby-John Rodriguez and Jelle Klaasen meets Dutch compatriot Jeffrey de Graaf.

Another Dutchman, Vincent van der Voort, takes on Germany's former World Youth Champion Max Hopp, while Belgium's Kim Huybrechts faces Huddersfield's James Wilson in the final tie of round one.

WATCH LIVE 
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TICKETS 
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William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 21 

Zoran Lerchbacher 2-1 Simon Stevenson (P)
Mensur Suljovic (8) 3-0 Ron Meulenkamp
James Wade (6) 3-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Robert Thornton (9) 3-0 Zoran Lerchbacher

Preliminary Round - Best of three sets
First Round - Best of five sets

LIVE STATS 
Follow live stats & see match stats throughout the event via the official PDC Live Scores website - CLICK HERE 

MATCH UPDATES 

Zoran Lerchbacher 2-1 Simon Stevenson (P) 
0-1 (2-3)
Lerchbacher hit a 180 and landed double ten before Stevenson pegged double 16 to level. Lerchbacher found the same bed to edge back ahead but his opponent took out 76 and then capitalised on two missed darts for the set by landing double four to break and move ahead. 

1-1 (3-1)
Lerchbacher's second 180 helped him break but Stevenson hit tops to reply in kind before the Austrian took the following two legs to level the match.

2-1 (3-1)
Lerchbacher took out 75 and then pinned double eight to move within a leg of victory. Stevenson hit double 18 but Lerchbacher found the same bed to seal a place in round one. 


Mensur Suljovic (8) 3-0 Ron Meulenkamp 
1-0 (3-2)
Suljovic hit a 180 in the first leg but Meulenkamp took out 116 to break. He then fired in a maximum and landed tops to double his lead. Suljovic fought back with finishes of 76 and 120 and, after his opponent had narrowly missed tops for the set, pegged double eight for the set.

2-0 (3-0)
Meulenkamp hit his second 180 but that was as good as it got for the Dutchman in the second set as Suljovic took all three legs with finishes of 52, 28 and ten.

3-0 (3-2)
Four legs were shared before Suljovic hit his second 180 and finished 24 to seal a straight sets triumph. 


James Wade (6) 3-0 Ronny Huybrechts 
1-0 (3-1)
Huybrechts landed double ten to break in the first leg but Wade hit double nine to level. He then took out 84 and pegged double ten to move a set ahead.

2-0 (3-1) 
Huybrechts again won the first leg with the aid of a 180 and a 69 finish. Wade hit back though with a 120 finish and he hit a 180 in each of the next two legs, winning them on tops.

3-0 (3-2) 
Huybrechts bedded double 16 to win the first leg before Wade responded with a 62 finish. He then pinned double ten before Huybrechts sunk tops to level but Wade sealed the win in style with a superb 141 checkout. 


Robert Thornton (9) 3-0 Zoran Lerchbacher 
1-0 (3-2)
All five legs went against the throw but two 180s from Thornton helped him edge the opening set.

2-0 (3-0) 
Thornton pegged double three to take the first leg and then had back-to-back 68 checkouts to double his lead. 

3-0 (3-2)
Thornton hit a 180 but Lerchbacher took out 59 to win the first leg. He then landed his first maximum but Thornton levelled, before Lerchbacher edged agead. The Scotsman hit back by pinning double six and adding his fourth 180 before taking out 63 for the win.