Taylor Sets Up UK Open Quarter-Final With Van Gerwen
PHIL TAYLOR snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Brendan Dolan as he remained on course to win a fifth Speedy Services UK Open title with a 9-8 fifth round win on Saturday night, and he has drawn Dutch rival Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals of 'The FA Cup of Darts'.
Taylor stared defeat in the face against Dolan as the Northern Irishman, who had earlier hit finishes of 102, 101 and 124 in leading 4-2, missed three darts for victory when he led 8-7.
Taylor, who took out finishes of 132 and 103 himself, landed double eight to save the game and force a deciding leg, showing his World Champion class with a sublime 11-darter as he sealed a last eight spot.
"I struggled tonight and Brendan was the better player, so I'm glad to have hit the 11-darter in the last leg," said Taylor. "I was lucky to be honest and I made it hard work for myself.
"Brendan had me beaten but I just kept trying and trying and somehow got the job done."
Taylor will now play world number two Michael van Gerwen in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals, giving him chance to avenge last month's defeat in the McCoy's Premier League Darts final four weeks ago.
Van Gerwen won through to his first UK Open quarter-finals courtesy of a 9-3 defeat of Terry Jenkins, although he did the damage early on by taking the game's first six legs without reply.
"It feels great to be in the quarter-finals for the first time," said van Gerwen. "I had a very strong start to this game but Terry played very well this afternoon against Kim Huybrechts so I knew I needed to be sharp.
"I lost my concentration a little bit in the middle of the game, but I managed to get the win and I can improve on this tomorrow. I'll have a good rest and then prepare myself for Sunday, because it would be fantastic to win this title."
Reigning champion Robert Thornton, though, was knocked out of the event as he went down 9-7 in a thriller against Raymond van Barneveld, the 2006 and 2007 UK Open winner. Thornton led 2-0 and 4-1 before the Dutchman produced some brilliant darts in winning four successive legs to move into the lead.
Thornton regained the edge at 6-5 before van Barneveld took command with three successive legs before going on to seal his quarter-final place.
"I'm very happy," said van Barneveld. "Robert was great in the first five legs and his finishing was fantastic, but I won four legs on the spin to get myself back into the game.
"It was a tough match and I was very relieved to win when I did, because it would have been very hard in a deciding leg.
"I would mean a lot to me to win a third UK Open tomorrow but I can only concentrate on the quarter-finals first and I'll be preparing for that."
Van Barneveld now plays Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter, who edged out another Dutchman, Jelle Klaasen, 9-7 in a tight contest which saw both players hit 160 finishes.
Two-time UK Open champion James Wade continued his challenge to claim a Bolton hat-trick with a 9-4 win over John Henderson, taking command by winning four of the game's opening five legs before fending off the Scot's fightback.
Wade has now drawn Andy Hamilton in the last eight, with the former World Championship finalist having swept aside York's Terry Temple 9-1 in their fifth round game.
Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis showed flashes of his best in a 9-6 win over Kevin Painter, who hit back from 5-0 down to trail just 6-4 at one stage, but the world number three hit two 11-darters as he sealed the win.
Lowestoft's Peter Wright now faces Lewis in the last eight, after he won through to his first Bolton quarter-final with another impressive performance as he defeated Steve West 9-4 with a 102 average.
The quarter-finals will be followed on Sunday evening by the £200,000 event's climax as the semi-finals and final are staged, with the eventual champion taking home £40,000 prize money.
Speedy Services UK Open
Saturday June 8
Raymond van Barneveld 9-7 Robert Thornton
Phil Taylor 9-8 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 9-3 Terry Jenkins
Adrian Lewis 9-6 Kevin Painter
Steve West 4-9 Peter Wright
Andy Hamilton 9-1 Terry Temple
Ronnie Baxter 9-7 Jelle Klaasen
John Henderson 4-9 James Wade
Sunday June 9
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Raymond van Barneveld v Ronnie Baxter
Andy Hamilton v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (7.30pm)
Best of 19 legs
Best of 21 legs
The semi-final draw will be made following the completion of the quarter-finals.