January 28, 2021

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PDC World Darts Championship: Michael Smith stunned and Nathan Aspinall survives epic

4 min read

Michael Smith suffered a monumental upset at Alexandra Palace (Picture: Getty Images)

Fourth seed Michael Smith was stunned at the PDC World Darts Championship on Wednesday night as he was beaten 3-1 in the second round by 48-year-old debutant Jason Lowe.

The 2019 finalist was making his 10th appearance in the tournament and was one of the favourites to lift the trophy next month.

However, he was never anywhere near his brilliant best against Lowe, finishing the match with an average of 92.64, compared to the underdog’s 96.24.

As the full-time builder, who only plays darts as a hobby, hit a 101 checkout to progress, Smith was seen throwing his arrows onto the floor in disgust with his own performance.

‘There was absolutely no pressure on me and that’s what enabled me to play well. I think Michael put himself under pressure and I just played darts,’ said Lowe.

‘I’m doing okay for my first year as a professional but I don’t really consider myself as one. If I can keep this attitude then I can be a problem for the big players.’

There was very nearly another shock earlier in the evening as Scott Waites raced into a 2-0 lead over number six seed Nathan Aspinall, but eventually succumbed to an excellent comeback and a 3-2 defeat.

Waites missed four match darts to oust the Asp, but will be left kicking himself at the three clear arrows at double 10, with his opponent tucking his darts in his pocket behind him.

It was a fantastic fightback from the former UK Open champion, but Waites tossed it away, averaging well over 100 after two sets and finishing the contest on 96.27.

‘That was a tough game to play in,’ said Aspinall, who averaged 92.7. ‘He was fantastic and that put pressure on my from the start but I never gave in.

‘I managed to put the pressure back on to him and, luckily for me, he missed opportunities and I got the result.

‘Sometimes you need a game like that. I can kick on now. Thing happen for a reason and maybe I’ll be World Champion.’

Two-time champion Gary Anderson also progressed to the third round with a 3-1 victory over Madars Razma and looked pretty good, with a 96 average, but insisted he has very slim hopes of another world title after a lack of practice due to a knee injury.

‘I’m seeing anything this year as a bonus so that’s exactly how I’m looking at that win,’ said Anderson.

‘This year has been a bit of write-off in many ways so I’m nice and relaxed for this tournament and playing with no pressure at all.

‘Others have been working and practising really hard for it, but not me. If I play okay then who knows what will happen here but next year I’m going to knuckle down and put the hard yards in.’

PDC World Darts Championship schedule

Sunday December 27

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

3x Third Round
Krzysztof Ratajski v Simon Whitlock
Kim Huybrechts v Ryan Searle
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jermaine Wattimena

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

3x Third Round
Joe Cullen v Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright v Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen v Ricky Evans

Monday December 28

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

3x Third Round
Jose de Sousa v Mervyn King
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Adam Hunt
Nathan Aspinall v Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

3x Third Round
Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic
Gerwyn Price v Brendan Dolan
Glen Durrant v Danny Baggish

Tuesday December 29

Afternoon Session (1200 GMT)

3x Third Round
James Wade v Stephen Bunting
Daryl Gurney v Chris Dobey
Jason Lowe v Devon Petersen

Evening Session (1800 GMT)

1x Third Round
Dave Chisnall v Danny Noppert
2x Fourth Round

MORE : Adrian Lewis suffers upset while Simon Whitlock warns his rivals at PDC World Darts Championship

MORE : Glen Durrant angry and disappointed despite opening PDC World Darts Championship win

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