Adrian Lewis says the aim for him is to get his belief back after he made a winning return to action last night following a month out for health reasons.
The world number four defeated Steve Beaton 10-7 in the first round of the World Matchplay in Blackpool yesterday, in what was the two-time world champion’s first competitive match on the circuit since June 16.
Lewis required an operation on a torn muscle in his lower back at the start of the month, and revealed after seeing off Beaton that he has been struggling to practice for extended periods.
“It’s a massive win for me because I love this tournament,” the 2013 World Matchplay finalist said.
“It’s my favourite event but this year I’ve got no expectations and it’s the first time I’ve ever come into an event feeling like this.
“Now it’s about getting my belief back and making sure I’m more comfortable during the game. I can’t dictate the pace and that’s something I like to do but I got through the game and I’m happy.
“It was a good battle and at 5-5 I was quite worried because Steve was scoring well and I found it hard to break him.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more with my finishing under pressure, but my scoring could be better.
“I’ve not had much practice for the last two weeks – the recovery time is usually six to 10 weeks – and that probably showed a bit tonight because I was a bit patchy. I’ve got a couple of days now until the second round and I can prepare for that now.”
Former BDO world champion Beaton, who knocked out Jelle Klaasen and Michael Smith on his way to reaching the quarter-finals in Blackpool last year, led twice but was unable to halt Lewis’ successful comeback.
Lewis responded to going a leg down by taking out 110 as he opened up a 3-1 lead, only to see Beaton win four of the next five legs as he took a 5-4 advantage.
Lewis hit back again by checking out 78 and throwing in a 13 darter to regain the lead and, despite finishes of 98 and 100 from Beaton, it was the 2013 finalist who sealed the win with an 11-dart leg.