James Wade was eliminated from the World Championship in the second round as Jim Williams suffered the tournament’s biggest shock yet.
Wade, who recently opened up his bipolar warfare, was a four-time semi-finalist at the flamboyant event and finished eighth, but was eliminated before Christmas after a 3-2 loss to Welsh.
Ranked 77th on the merit standings, Williams put in the performance of his life to take down Wade in a decision where he found three 180 shots and some clutch darts with an average of 98.48.
The Welsh player admitted it was the biggest win of his career, even if he didn’t give his best.
“Yes, this is the biggest win,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“I felt like I was struggling, I’m just going in and out, my mindset is in and out, I always have to stay focused as long as I can.
“It was a tough match, it was tough for James too. I was surprised by his score, he didn’t score anywhere as close as he could. I finally pulled it out.
“I have a few days to really practice and clear my head.”
Two-time champion Gary Anderson made the perfect birthday gift by reserving his spot in the third round.
Scot, who was the winner in 2015 and 2016 in a row, had a celebratory tonic after beating Madars Razma 3-1, although he has recently lost his spot on the top darts table.
It certainly wasn’t an old performance from the 52-year-old, the Razma offered tough competition, including an unforgettable 154-chassis, but it did the job on its own with over three-tonne chassis.
Despite her success, Anderson doesn’t expect to contend for a third title this year, but is enjoying her return to Alexandra Palace.
“I don’t know this year, my game isn’t anywhere near where it should be,” Anderson said.
“We keep trying, I practice a lot more. Next year I made up my mind to start from scratch and started to distance myself from the house and throw it again.
Fifth-seeded Luke Humphries defeated Germany’s Florian Hempel 3-2, while Vincent van der Voort beat Cameron Menzies 3-0 to win another tough battle.
In the afternoon session, Dirk van Duivenbode made an exciting move in the final set against Karel Sedlak.
The 14th seeded Dutchman had to fight back 2-1 to win 3-2 and won the decisive set 4-2.
When she missed the double 12 for a nine-dart finish, she would nearly eclipse the Alexandra Palace crowd as she was millimeters away from making the perfect dart throw.
Mensur Suljovic beat Mike de Decker 3-0; Ryan Searle knocked out Adam Gawlas as Krzysztof Ratajski defeated Danny Jensen 3-1.