Adrian Lewis with all the momentum in the Premier League
It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Just ask Adrian Lewis.
The world champion for the past two years is the man on the move in the Premier League, and became the first player to beat Phil Taylor in the competition last week with a sensational display against the 15-time world champion.
From being 4-1 down to the man who introduced him to the game of darts, Lewis turned on the afterburners and raced to an 8-5 victory. The defeat won’t affect Taylor as he is the only player through to the semi-finals, but the win for Lewis has put him in pole position to qualify for the play-offs, and has affected those with play-off ambitions.
With three places up for grabs for finals night at London’s O2 Arena, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Lewis are the players in second, third and fourth in the standings. With three weeks of the round robin phase remaining, these three players know there is still a long way to go.
Of the three, Australian Whitlock has 14 points, and has one foot in the semis. It is hard to see him not qualify from here. For Wade and Lewis, who both find themselves on the same 11 points, it is the latter with the bit between his teeth having secured a fine win against Taylor.
This week, Lewis is up against reigning Premier League champion Gary Anderson, who hasn’t been the Anderson of 2011 and has therefore suffered as a result of it.
The Scot lost 8-4 to Kevin Painter last Thursday and is at the foot of the table, without a win in his previous six outings.
Anderson is four points off the play-offs, but the way he has been playing it looks as though the O2 will be without the defending champion. It has been a tournament for him to forget, as his scoring prowess has deserted him and his trouble on doubles has been clear for all to see.
This time last year, Anderson was the best player on finals night, coming from behind to beat Raymond van Barneveld in the semis and then overcoming Lewis quite comfortably in the final. Against Lewis this time around, it is going to be hard for him to live with the speed and confidence Lewis has right now.
Whitlock is up against Taylor in week 12, and even if he doesn’t pick up any points, second spot should be his. Every time Taylor loses he bounces straight back with some sensational arrows. Whitlock will be wary of a Taylor master class.
In the opening match of the evening, Painter takes on Wade, and with Wade in third in the table, Painter is still eyeing up a place in the semis.
The win over Anderson moved Painter onto eight points and three off the play-off spots, and the Artist is the only player yet to draw a match in the Premier League. With games against Lewis and Andy Hamilton to follow, Painter won’t give up and will fight until the very end.
Van Barneveld heading into the Premier League last week had won two UK Open qualifier events and hit a nine-darter, but coming onto the oche against Whitlock, the five-time champion of the world failed to replicate the form and was comprehensively beaten 8-4.
From being second in the table Barney is now in fifth after the costly loss, and he will aim to get his campaign back on track with a win against Hamilton, who is on eight points and will also be trying to get into the play-offs.
İsmail Vedat- Follow me on twitter
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