Michael van Gerwen stormed through to the last 16 of the Ladbrokes World Championship, as he fought back from two sets down to defeat Peter Wright on Sunday evening.
The reigning World Grand Prix champion remains in the hunt for his second PDC major title after winning twelve of the last 14 legs in his second round triumph.
The 23-year-old star hammered home twelve 180s and averaged over 102, the second highest of the tournament so far, to progress.
“I’m pleased to have come through after the way it started,” said van Gerwen, who will face Colin Lloyd in round three.
“At the beginning of the game Peter was finishing well and I was struggling on the doubles.
“I found my confidence and my game after the first break and managed to fight back, which makes me happy.
“I’m looking forward to playing Colin. He is a great player and someone I enjoy playing against.
Wright started off well and took the first set 3-1 before ‘Mighty Mike’ began to get into his stride.
The Dutchman took out 71 to break his opponent’s throw before holding, and he added his second 180 in the following leg, which was won by Wright.
‘Snakebite’ then produced a brilliant 121 checkout to level the set, despite van Gerwen hitting another maximum.
And two more 180s in the set decider were not enough to prevent Wright from doubling his lead.
van Gerwen upped the ante as he hit back to win the third set, taking out 81 to hold before his seventh and eighth 180s helped him halve the match deficit.
The pair shared the first two legs of set four before van Gerwen hit the bull and then double top for a clinical 90 checkout to break, before holding to level the match at two sets apiece.
The Dutch sensation took three straight legs to win the fifth set, as he upped his maximum count to ten.
‘Mighty Mike’ took out a neat 74 finish to break in the opening leg of set six but Wright produced a fantastic 141 checkout to level, despite van Gerwen’s eleventh 180.
His twelfth, followed by an assured 80 checkout, gave van Gerwen another break of throw, moving him within a leg of victory.
And he pinned double twelve to seal his place in the last 16.
van Gerwen faces Lloyd on Thursday 23 December.
By Chris Murphy