Darts: Painter finds gloss as Mason hit with whitewash

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The Independent Online

Kevin Painter powered through to the last 16 of the PDC World Championship with a crushing 4-0 win over Chris Mason on Boxing Day. On the first day of action after a two-day Christmas break, the 2004 runner-up was soon back into his stride here.

Mason led in each of the first three sets but Painter hit back each time to move within sight of victory.

Finishes of 112 and 125 then put him on the brink and, after a brief rally by Mason, Painter soon closed out the contest, finishing with a three-dart average of 92.04.

"I like playing on the edge," said Painter. "I am feeling confident and good about my game. Chris did not play well, he was not quite up for it. I am used to getting hard draws and I am playing well."

The Welshman Barrie Bates edged out the Netherlands' Erwin Extercatte 4-3 to reach the third round for the first time in his career. Both players had their chances in a tight contest but it was Bates who emerged victorious after Extercatte took the match to a deciding set.

Also through to the last 16 round is Kirk Shepherd after a thriller against the Irishman Mick McGowan which went to a tie-break. McGowan missed four darts to win the match and eventually it was Shepherd who prevailed 4-3 after taking the final set 5-3.

Adrian Lewis, tipped by many as a future world champion, booked his place in the last 16 by seeing off Dutchman Vincent van der Voort 4-2 in a high-quality encounter.

Lewis threw a 10-darter to come from behind to take the first set and Van der Voort also led in the second before falling 2-0 behind. Van der Voort took the third and the pair then traded sets for Lewis to lead 3-2.

The scores were locked at 2-2 in the sixth set but Lewis fired a 180 his seventh of the match to claim a decisive advantage.

The former world champion John Part eased through with a 4-1 win over German No 1 Mensur Suljovic. James Wade also made progress, holding off a spirited comeback from Steve Beaton to win 4-3.

Raymond van Barneveld did not have a festive season designed to assist him in his defence of the world title, coming down with 'flu. "I have had a bad Christmas," he said. "I have been laid up for three days."

He has, however, been seeking help. "I find Zen very calming," he said. "Playing darts at this level can be very stressful and demanding mentally, and when you are involved in a tight finish like my final against Phil Taylor last year, your heart can beat faster than you can count. But I've always found meditation calms me down before a game, so now I try to do it before I go on stage every time.

"A few years ago, darts had an image of overweight men drinking pints of beer on stage to help them relax. Zen may not be the answer for everyone, but I believe it has had a positive effect on my game."