Michael van Gerwen limped onto the stage but then completed a convincing victory over Colin Lloyd to reach the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes World Championship for the first time in his career.
van Gerwen played through the pain barrier after suffering a foot injury over Christmas, but it didn’t seem to affect his performance as he posted a 99 average en route to a 4-1 success on Thursday evening.
“It feels amazing to have reached the quarters,” admitted van Gerwen, the second favourite to win the £1 million first prize.
“Especially with how my foot was. I woke up on Christmas morning and couldn’t walk so put all my weight on my other foot for a couple of days and now that one is in pain.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening in this World Championship but then I couldn’t believe my performance.
“I was so pleased with how I played. It gives me a lot of confidence.
“Hopefully I will feel better in a couple of days. I’ll get some rest and make sure I am ready for another big game.”
van Gerwen came back from 2-1 down to win the opening set 3-2, breaking Lloyd’s throw in the decider with a fabulous 116 checkout.
The Dutch ace hit his first 180 as he won the second set 3-0, hitting a stunning 121 finish in the process.
He bedded double top to win a sixth consecutive leg but Lloyd took the next three to reduce van Gerwen’s lead to 2-1.
‘Mighty Mike’ soon restored his two set cushion though, as he took the fourth 3-1.
His second maximum helped him break Lloyd’s throw in the first leg of what proved to be the final set, with van Gerwen producing a brilliant eleven darter to double his lead before completing the triumph by bedding double three.
‘Mighty Mike’ will face either reigning World Champion Adrian Lewis or Kevin Painter in the last eight of the Alexandra Palace tournament on Saturday evening.
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC