With three former world champions in the semi-final draw, the 2016 PDC World Championship remained wide open. While Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis were expected to reach the latter stages of the competition, the resurgence of Raymond van Barneveld and the improved performance of Jelle Klassen has come as a surprise.
The first semi-final saw van Barneveld take on Lewis. Lewis went into the match as favourite although van Barneveld had already caused one major upset in the competition by beating Michael van Gerwen. It was Lewis who started better and it looked like van Barneveld would be blown away as his opponent raced into a 5-0 lead. However, van Barneveld fought back and won the next three sets to give himself hope. However, Lewis kept his composure to close out the match and book his place in the final with a 6-3 win.
The second semi-final was much more straight forward as defending champion Gary Anderson made light work of Klassen. Anderson won the match 6-0 and finished the match with an impressive average of 107. During the match, Anderson recorded a nine-darter, the first of this year’s competition and the second of Anderson’s career. Despite the defeat, Klassen will be pleased with his performance in the competition, having reached the semi-final stage for the first time.
With the semi-finals going to form, the final saw two-time former champion Lewis take on defending champion Anderson. It was Lewis who won the first set of the match, although Anderson soon levelled the score. Anderson took the lead in the next set only for Lewis to level it up again, making it 2-2. Lewis won the next set to go 3-2 up, but Anderson fought back to level the match and then took the lead. Anderson made it three sets in a row to 5-3 up, before Lewis pulled it back to 5-4. Anderson then went 6-4 up to control of the match, and although Lewis refused to lie down, Anderson went on to win the match 7-5.
Anderson’s victory makes him the first player to retain the title since Lewis and maintains his reputation as one of the best players in the world. As well as the trophy, Anderson also takes away 350,000 in prize money following his victory.