MICHAEL SMITH sealed his place in the quarter-finals of the William Hill World Championship after a 4-1 victory over Ryan Searle at Alexandra Palace.
Smith reached the last eight for the second time, having previously got to that stage in 2016, by winning a high quality affair on Friday.
Searle cleaned up 68 to break immediately but Smith broke straight back before finishes of 61 and 65 saw the Premier League finalist seal the first set.
Searle punished Smith for a string of missed double attempts by taking out 104 to go two legs up in the second set, but successive checkouts of 72, 76 and 130 turned around the set and doubled the 28-year-old's lead.
Smith raced through the third set, following a 15-dart-leg with back-to-back 11-darters to move within a set of victory.
A 126 on the bull from Smith squared up a brilliant fourth set after Searle had taken out 73 and 90 but the St Helens ace missed two match darts, allowing his opponent to clinch the set on double ten.
An 11-darter helped Searle go two legs up in set five but Smith hit back, levelling with a 96 finish before taking 106 to seal the win.
Searle - 96.22
Smith - 99.72
Searle - 4
Smith - 10
Searle - 104
Smith - 130
Searle - 1
Smith - 3
Searle - 8/20
Smith - 14/29