James Wade fought off the challenge of Ireland’s Connie Finnan to book his place in the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin on Wednesday evening.
Wade, a two-time winner of the double-start event, won a deciding set to set up a last eight clash with Simon Whitlock.
“I’m really happy with how I played there after a poor start,” said Wade. “I let someone who’s inexperienced in terms of stage games get ahead of me and I shouldn’t have, but I got through the final two sets okay.
“I know I can turn my game around and I’m getting close to my best.”
Wade fell behind despite hitting three 180s in the first set, as Finnan capitalised on a string of missed doubles by ‘The Machine’ to edge the opener by three legs to two.
Double Grand Prix champion Wade took the first two legs in the second set, with the aid of a fine 121 finish. Finnan’s first 180 helped him pull a leg back but the Aldershot ace picked off 90, using the bull before bedding double top, to draw level in the match.
Finnan though, took all three legs in set three to move within a leg of a surprise victory to add to his first round scalp of Terry Jenkins.
Wade opened up a two leg lead in the fourth by pinning tops to hold before producing a tidy 116 checkout. His opponent broke back immediatley but the 30-year-old pegged double five to force a deciding set.
A 180 in the first leg helped Wade grab a break of throw as he took the lead in the match for the first time.
He then missed a dart at double top for a 145 finish but returned to sink it and leave himself in need of just one more leg for the win.
Finnan pulled a leg back but the left-hander completed victory with a 91 finish.
By Chris Murphy