Sydney Darts Masters: Bridge too far for Barney
WORLD CHAMPION Phil Taylor and Australian ace Simon Whitlock progressed to the last eight of the Sydney Darts Masters with wins on Thursday night, as big-stage debutant Clinton Bridge stunned Raymond van Barneveld with a 6-5 upset victory at Luna Park.
Taylor, the sport's greatest ever player, handed emerging ace Kyle Anderson - the domestic number one following his success on the DPA's Australian Grand Prix circuit this year - a lesson with a fine display as he took a 6-1 victory from their clash.
The 53-year-old will now face Australian World Cup star Paul Nicholson in Friday's quarter-finals, and is looking to continue his successful summer with another big title.
"All the players were a bit nervous tonight because we all didn't quite know what to expect, so I'm really pleased to be through," said Taylor. "I got a lovely reception from the crowd and we both had some great support.
"I think the nerves may have got to Kyle a little bit because I know he can play a lot better than that, but he'll learn and come back stronger."
World number four Simon Whitlock, the sport's top-ranked Australian, enjoyed a rapturous welcome from a sold-out Luna Park, and he rewarded them with a vintage display to whitewash Brisbane-based qualifier Jamie Mathers.
Whitlock hit five 180s in the match - including four in the opening three legs - and went on to take out 106 and 124 as he sealed a comprehensive victory.
"Everything about tonight was wonderful," said Whitlock. "The crowd was brilliant and darts in Australia is finally on TV, and this is a big step forward for us.
"We've got some great players here and Jamie will be better for this experience, and he played well - but I'm delighted with my performance.
"I've never felt like I did tonight because the crowd were amazing from start to finish. With the crowd behind me and form like that, there's no reason why I can't go all the way.
"I've got Andy Hamilton next and we've had many great battles over the year, and this should be another."
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, though, crashed out of the tournament with a narrow 6-5 defeat to Australian Grand Prix number three Clinton Bridge.
The bricklayer from Geelong looked set to exit the event when he went 5-3 down to the Dutch ace, but the left-hander took out 136 to save the game, double top to force a decider and then finished 80 on tops to seal a famous win.
"It's a dream come true," admitted the 29-year-old. "Raymond's such a great player so to get a result like this is amazing for me.
"You don't expect to play these type of players in Australia, let alone have a dart to beat them! In the last leg I just wanted to get a shot at a double and take it, and I managed to do that.
"The 136 checkout earlier was huge for me too. When I hit that, and a 180 I hit, it threw him a bit and that's what you have to do against these players.
"I was shaking when I got to the winning double and I didn't expect it to go in, but I'm so glad it did!"
Bridge now plays another Dutchman, Michael van Gerwen, in Friday's quarter-finals after the world number two swept past Gordon Mathers - the older brother of Jamie - with a thrilling display.
Van Gerwen needed only ten minutes on stage as he won six successive legs, and averaged 106.09 in a fine performance.
European Champion Adrian Lewis also impressed as he claimed a 6-1 win over New Zealand's Monty Tuhua, who was welcomed to the stage by a traditional Haka but was unable to halt the two-time World Champion.
Lewis took the game's first five legs without reply before Tuhua hit double 16 to win the sixth, but the Kiwi was unable to prevent Lewis closing out a clinical win with six doubles from nine attempts and a 103.70 average.
Lewis will now meet Wes Newton on Friday night, with the Fleetwood ace seeing off Perth's David Platt 6-3, while Andy Hamilton booked a clash with Whitlock by defeating Oceanic Masters champion Beau Anderson - Kyle's older brother - by a 6-4 scoreline.
Nicholson, meanwhile, was an early winner on the opening night, winning 6-4 in his clash with New Zealand's Warren Parry.
Nicholson struggled with his doubles throughout - he led only 3-2 but could have been 5-0 up in the early stages - before Parry hit back to level at four-all.
Nicholson, though, took the ninth leg before securing the game's only break of throw to seal the win on double eight.
"I did feel a bit of pressure but I'm very relieved that I managed to get over the winning line in the end," said Nicholson. "It was a very nervy game and we were both very aware of being first up on that stage.
"I'm still a bit low on confidence and I'm working hard on my game, but it was great to have some good support from the crowd and a few friends out there too - and I'm glad that I get another opportunity now to prove myself in the quarter-finals."
Friday night's quarter-finals will see Lewis play Newton in the opening game before van Gerwen meets Bridge, with Taylor then facing Nicholson and Whitlock taking on Hamilton.
The action will be screened live on FOX SPORTS in Australia, as well as through Sky New Zealand, Fox Asia, OSN across the Middle East and on the Eurosport Network, as well as though www.LIVEPDC.TV for users worldwide outside of Australia.
Sydney Darts Masters, in association with tab.com.au
Thursday August 29
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Warren Parry
Raymond van Barneveld 5-6 Clinton Bridge
Wes Newton 6-3 David Platt
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Beau Anderson
Simon Whitlock 6-0 Jamie Mathers
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Monty Tuhua
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Gordon Mathers
Phil Taylor 6-1 Kyle Anderson
Best of 11 legs
Friday August 30
Adrian Lewis v Wes Newton
Michael van Gerwen v Clinton Bridge
Phil Taylor v Paul Nicholson
Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
Best of 15 legs
Paul Nicholson v Warren Parry
0-0 - Paul Nicholson wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Double five sees Nicholson win the opening leg.
1-1 - Nicholson initially misses double 18 to finish 101 and is also off-target on double nine and four, and Parry levels on double 14.
2-1 - Double ten moves Nicholson back in front.
2-2 - Nicholson misses two darts a tops, and the Kiwi steps in to level again.
3-2 - Nicholson hits the tournament's first 180, and finishes 32 to move back ahead.
3-3 - Tops sees Parry square the contest again.
4-3 - Nicholson holds throw to edge himself in front once more.
4-4 - Nicholson misses one dart at double 16 to break, and Parry recovers from three earlier misses to post double nine/
5-4 - Nicholson lands tops at the fifth time of asking to move a leg away from victory.
6-4 - Nicholson finishes double eight to seal victory with the game's only break of throw.
Raymond van Barneveld v Clinton Bridge
0-0 - Clinton Bridge wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - van Barneveld breaks throw in the game's opening leg, finishing 69 on double 16.
1-1 - Bridge levels by breaking back on double 19.
2-1 - The Dutchman initially misses his chance to win the leg, but Bridge misses tops to move ahead and double two sees van Barneveld break once again.
3-1 - van Barneveld lands a 180 as he holds throw for the first time to move two legs clear.
3-2 - Double 12 sees Bridge hit back.
4-2 - van Barneveld regains his two-leg cushion by hitting tops.
4-3 - Bridge hits back by landing double five.
5-3 - van Barneveld opens with a 180 and finishes tops to move a leg away from the quarter-finals.
5-4 - Bridge saves the match with a superb 136 checkout.
5-5 - van Barneveld is unable to finish 129, and Bridge takes out 47 on tops to send the game into a deciding leg.
5-6 - van Barneveld fails to take out 117, and Bridge steps up to finish 80 on tops for the biggest win of his career as he knocks out the five-time World Champion.
Wes Newton v David Platt
0-0 - Wes Newton wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Double 16 sees Newton hold throw in the opening leg.
2-0 - Newton breaks throw to double his lead.
3-0 - The Fleetwood ace lands double 16 again to move three legs clear.
3-1 - Platt takes out 110 to win his first leg of the game.
4-1 - Newton opens with two 180s, and though a potential nine-darter goes begging, he wins the leg on double two to regain his cushion.
4-2 - Double 16 sees Platt hit back.
5-2 - Newton finishes double eight to move one leg from victory.
5-3 - Platt sets up a potential ten-darter, but eventually wins the leg on double four to save the game, with Newton missing double 16 for a 149 finish to take victory.
6-3 - Newton this time seals the win on double four.
Andy Hamilton v Beau Anderson
0-0 - Beau Anderson wins the bull and throws first
1-0 - Anderson is first to a finish, pays for six misses at doubles as Hamilton hits tops to steal the leg.
2-0 - Hamilton hits double top again to move two legs up.
2-1 - Anderson hits back to win his first leg of the game.
3-1 - Hamilton lands a 180 as he regains a two-leg lead.
4-1 - Double 12 moves Hamilton into a three-leg cushion.
4-2 - Anderson replies with double 18 to claim a second leg.
4-3 - Anderson pulls back to within a leg by finishing double 16.
5-3 - Hamilton finishes 72 on double four to move to the brink of victory.
5-4 - Anderson takes out 82 on tops to stay in the contest.
6-4 - Hamilton hits double 16 to seal victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
Simon Whitlock v Jamie Mathers
0-0 - SImon Whitlock wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Whitlock lands two 180s in the opening leg and hits double ten to lead.
2-0 - Whitlock adds another maximum, and when Mathers - an Oceanic Masters semi-finalist - misses two darts at tops to allow the world number four back in on double one.
3-0 - Whitlock lands a 180 to leave 28, and takes out the finish to move three legs clear.
4-0 - Mathers posts a maximum as he leaves 101, but misses tops to complete the combination and Whitlock punishes him by hitting tops.
5-0 - Mathers misses a dart at tops to finish 75, and Whitlock moves a leg away from the win by finishing 106.
6-0 - Whitlock adds a fifth 180 and seals the victory by finishing 124 on double 11 for a 12-darter.
Adrian Lewis v Monty Tuhua
0-0 - Adrian Lewis wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Lewis lands a 180 in a 14-darter to open the game.
2-0 - Lewis breaks throw by finishing 76 on double eight.
3-0 - Lewis lands double ten to consolidate his advantage.
4-0 - The two-time World Champion powers in a sensational 170 checkout to move four legs clear.
5-0 - Lewis moves a leg away from victory by taking a fifth straight leg.
5-1 - Tuhua finishes 62 on double 16 to win his opening leg of the game.
6-1 - Lewis takes out 72 on double six to ensure his second round place with a 103.70 average and six doubles from nine attempts.
Michael van Gerwen v Gordon Mathers
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - van Gerwen wins the opening leg on double eight.
2-0 - The Dutchman misses double five for a 130 finish, but returns to pin double one.
3-0 - The world number two takes out 68 in two darts to move three legs clear.
4-0 - Mathers misses two darts at double 18 for a 96 finish, and van Gerwen breaks throw.
5-0 - The Dutch ace wins a fifth successive leg to move to the brink of a quarter-final place.
6-0 - Mathers misses a dart at tops, and van Gerwen htis the same bed to seal his win.
Phil Taylor v Kyle Anderson
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Double eight sees Taylor win the game's opening leg.
2-0 - Taylor lands tops to double his advantage.
3-0 - Taylor clinically takes out 107 on tops to move three legs clear.
4-0 - Taylor breaks again, this time finishing 87 on double eight.
5-0 - The World Champion wins a fifth successive leg to continue his charge.
5-1 - Taylor misses four match darts as Anderson hits tops to get off the mark.
6-1 - Taylor seals victory by finishing 62 on double 16.