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Simon Gott 30th Dec 2014 - 9:05

Van Gerwen & Thornton set up quarter-final

DEFENDING champion Michael van Gerwen came through a tricky test against Terry Jenkins with a 4-1 win to set-up a quarter-final clash with Robert Thornton at the William Hill World Darts Championship, where Stephen Bunting knocked out sixth seed James Wade in front of Prince Harry on Monday.

The tournament's second visit from Prince Harry, who was a guest at the 2011 semi-finals, saw the fourth in line to the throne take in the final game from round two at Alexandra Palace and the opening two matches of the last 16.

The night was headlined by reigning champion van Gerwen, who averaged just under 100, hit three 180s and an impressive 56 percent on his doubles as he connected on 14 of his 25 efforts in what was an efficient if not spectacular way to move into the last eight.

Jenkins put up a decent fight as four of the five sets went the distance, but he was only able to win one of those deciding legs as van Gerwen found his extra gear at the right times to book a quarter-final tie against Thornton.

Van Gerwen quickly took the opening set without too many issues, sharing the opening two legs before following a 14-darter with a break of throw to move ahead.

Jenkins responded in the second as he came from a leg down to level the game in a deciding leg, having traded 12-darters with van Gerwen - as the Dutchman bettered his rival's 116 checkout with a 128 finish only to see the decider go to the Ledbury ace.

A high-quality third set also went all the way to a fifth leg, with Jenkins hitting finishes of 84 and 96 only to see van Gerwen follow up legs of 14 and 13 darts by finishing 76 in the decider.

Jenkins led with a 14-darter in set four and opened the second leg with two 180s to raise the prospect of a nine-dart finish - but after missing double 12 in the second round he was unable again to complete the 141 finish, although he returned to take out 76 for a 12-darter to move 2-0 up.

However, van Gerwen hit back with a 12-darter and then finished 72 to level the set, before opening the decider with a 177 score as he moved into a key 3-1 lead in sets.

Van Gerwen also landed a 177 as he opened set five with a 13-darter, with Jenkins taking out 122 and 96 to send the set into another decider, but the Dutchman finished with a flourish as a 65 finish for a 14-darter sealed his quarter-final place.

"I didn't play well in the beginning but overall I was consistent, I was professional and I didn't make many mistakes which is what I had to do," said van Gerwen. "Even though I was 2-0 down in the fourth set I had a good feeling that I could win that, it was in my mind that I could win that and win the game.

"I'm confident I can go all the way in this tournament. I know when I play well I can beat everyone, but you need to prepare your game against everyone; tonight I prepared to face Terry Jenkins and i did what i had to do to make it into the next round.

"It was a big test, it was not that close but there were a few 3-2 sets so it could have been closer and it's good to have a good game at this stage of the tournament."

Scottish star Thornton is next up for van Gerwen after he ended the dream run of another Dutchman, youngster Benito van de Pas, with a 4-0 victory in their third round match.

After knocking out Paul Nicholson and Dave Chisnall, van de Pas's challenge ran out of steam, with Thornton averaging 96.5 and hitting four 180s and 15 scores of 140-plus.

Thornton also had a 156 finish to his name in the opening set, while van de Pas struggled to keep pace with just an 89 average as his opponent booked his place in the quarter-finals for the first time at Alexandra Palace.

"Michael and I have had a few battles and I don't see this one being any different," said Thornton. "I'll need to tidy up my scoring a bit, it was a bit ragged up there at times, but I'm just glad that Benito didn't really turn up.

"It didnt feel like a 96 average up there, but I thought my finishing was pretty good."

Reigning Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting ended the second round matches with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over sixth seed James Wade in the evening session's opening game.

In a tie which had been eagerly-awaited since the draw was made at the start of December, Bunting's bid to claim a debut win at Alexandra Palace continued as he ended the hopes of a below-par Wade.

Bunting powered out of the blocks, breaking throw in the opening leg and doubling his lead before claiming the set in style by finishing 161 for a 12-darter.

Wade found his stride in the second as he levelled the game by taking the set 3-1, only to see Bunting come from 2-1 down in the third to take a deciding leg, hitting his third 180 of the set as he edged back ahead.

Back-to-back 14-darters moved Wade 2-0 up in set four, but Bunting levelled before taking the set - and a 3-1 lead in the match - with a superb 144 checkout.

Wade also led in set five, but Bunting took the next three legs - with a 118 finish breaking throw - as he completed a fine win to move into the last 16 in his first William Hill World Darts Championship challenge, where he meets St Helens rival Michael Smith.

"It was a very nervous performance to be honest," said Bunting. "I know James Wade is a fantastic player but I had a lot of fans here tonight and they helped me get through it.

"The big finishes decided the game in the end. I managed to take them out at the right times and I think that was probably the main difference between me and James today, as he seemed to struggle a bit hitting his doubles.

"Obviously I'm not very happy with a 93 average but I managed to get through it. For some reason it just wasn't able to click up there but I can promise you I'll be back and ready for the next round.

"Michael's a fantastic player and a good friend, and it will be a great game - hopefully the whole town will be watching us."

The third round concludes on Tuesday across two sessions at Alexandra Palace with six games which will complete the New Year's quarter-final line-up.

Last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright opens up the afternoon session against 2012 runner-up Andy Hamilton, before Spanish sensation Cristo Reyes faces number four seed Gary Anderson and Dean Winstanley plays Vincent van der Voort.

Former champions Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld kick off the evening session before 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor plays Kim Huybrechts, with Bunting's clash with Smith completing the action.

WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Monday December 29
Evening Session
Second Round
James Wade 1-4 Stephen Bunting
Third Round
Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Terry Jenkins
Benito van de Pas 0-4 Robert Thornton

Tuesday December 30
Third Round
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
Peter Wright v Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson v Cristo Reyes
Dean Winstanley v Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session (7pm)
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
Stephen Bunting v Michael Smith

Third Round
Best of Seven Sets, Best of Five Legs Per Set

MATCH INFORMATION

JAMES WADE 1-4 STEPHEN BUNTING
(0-3, 3-1, 2-3, 2-3, 1-3)

REIGNING Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting continued his quest to win the William Hill World Darts Championship title on his Alexandra Palace debut with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over sixth seed James Wade in the final second round game.

In a tie which had been eagerly-awaited since the draw was made at the start of December, Bunting's bid to claim a debut win at Alexandra Palace continued as he ended the hopes of a below-par Wade.

Bunting powered out of the blocks, breaking throw in the opening leg and doubling his lead before claiming the set in style by finishing 161 for a 12-darter.

Wade found his stride in the second as he levelled the game by taking the set 3-1, only to see Bunting come from 2-1 down in the third to take a deciding leg, hitting his third 180 of the set as he edged back ahead.

Back-to-back 14-darters moved Wade 2-0 up in set four, but Bunting levelled before taking the set - and a 3-1 lead in the match - with a superb 144 checkout.

Wade also led in set five, but Bunting took the next three legs - with a 118 finish breaking throw - as he completed a fine win to move into the last 16 in his first William Hill World Darts Championship challenge, where he meets St Helens rival Michael Smith.

"It was a very nervous performance to be honest," said Bunting. "I know James Wade is a fantastic player but I had a lot of fans here tonight and they helped me get through it.

"The big finishes decided the game in the end. I managed to take them out at the right times and I think that was probably the main difference between me and James today, as he seemed to struggle a bit hitting his doubles.

"Obviously I'm not very happy with a 93 average but I managed to get through it. For some reason it just wasn't able to click up there but I can promise you I'll be back and ready for the next round.

"Michael's a fantastic player and a good friend, and it will be a great game - hopefully the whole town will be watching us."

Match Information
First Set 0-3 - Bunting takes full advantage of a slow start from Wade. A double eight breaks in the first for Bunting, double ten gives him in the second, and he then clinches the set with a 161 finish on the bull.
Second Set 3-1 - Wade responds with tops and then breaks in the second leg, and though Bunting pulls back a leg, the left-hander clinches the set.
Third Set 2-3 - A break to start for Bunting, but missed doubles allow Wade to level, before a 75 puts him ahead despite a Bunting 180. Bunting finds another gear to take out 78 in the next as both men hit 180s, then another 180 helps him take the decider on a nerve-jangling double one.
Fourth Set 2-3 - A 96 finish for a break for Wade and a 13-darter puts him 2-0 up. Bunting responds with 180s in the next two legs helping him to square it up, before a brilliant 144 checkout wins the set.
Fifth Set 1-3 - Despite a 180 for Bunting, Wade wins the first leg. Another 180 is this time followed by 56 checkout for Bunting, who then breaks with a 118 finish before completing the win in leg four.

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN 4-1 TERRY JENKINS
(3-1, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)

DEFENDING champion Michael van Gerwen overcame a tricky test against Terry Jenkins with a 4-1 win to become the first man to make it through to the quarter-finals of the William Hill World Darts Championship.

Van Gerwen averaged just under 100, hit three 180s and an impressive 56 percent on his doubles as he connected on 14 of his 25 efforts in what was an efficient if not spectacular way to move into the last eight.

Jenkins put up a decent fight as four of the five sets went the distance, but he was only able to win one of those deciding legs as van Gerwen found his extra gear at the right times to book a quarter-final tie against Thornton.

Van Gerwen quickly took the opening set without too many issues, sharing the opening two legs before following a 14-darter with a break of throw to move ahead.

Jenkins responded in the second as he came from a leg down to level the game in a deciding leg, having traded 12-darters with van Gerwen - as the Dutchman bettered his rival's 116 checkout with a 128 finish only to see the decider go to the Ledbury ace.

A high-quality third set also went all the way to a fifth leg, with Jenkins hitting finishes of 84 and 96 only to see van Gerwen follow up legs of 14 and 13 darts by finishing 76 in the decider.

Jenkins led with a 14-darter in set four and opened the second leg with two 180s to raise the prospect of a nine-dart finish - but after missing double 12 in the second round he was unable again to complete the 141 finish, although he returned to take out 76 for a 12-darter to move 2-0 up.

However, van Gerwen hit back with a 12-darter and then finished 72 to level the set, before opening the decider with a 177 score as he moved into a key 3-1 lead in sets.

Van Gerwen also landed a 177 as he opened set five with a 13-darter, with Jenkins taking out 122 and 96 to send the set into another decider, but the Dutchman finished with a flourish as a 65 finish for a 14-darter sealed his quarter-final place.

"I didn't play well in the beginning but overall I was consistent, I was professional and I didn't make many mistakes which is what I had to do," said van Gerwen.

"Even though I was 2-0 down in the fourth set I had a good feeling that I could win that, it was in my mind that I could win that and win the game.

"I'm confident I can go all the way in this tournament. I know when I play well I can beat everyone, but you need to prepare your game against everyone; tonight I prepared to face Terry Jenkins and i did what i had to do to make it into the next round.

"It was a big test, it was not that close but there were a few 3-2 sets so it could have been closer and it's good to have a good game at this stage of the tournament."

Match Information
First Set 3-1 - Van Gerwen takes a low-key opening set, with a 54 checkout in the last leg being the highlight.
Second Set 2-3 - Jenkins averages 104 to level the match. The pair swap double tops checkouts, then Jenkins hits a 180 and takes out 116 and hits another maximum only to see van Gerwen take out 128 - but Jenkins edges the set.
Third Set 3-2 - An 84 finish puts Jenkins level at 1-1, and he needs a 96 finish which saw him land double 18 and double top to bring it back to 2-2 again. Van Gerwen takes the crucial leg though with a 76 outshot.
Fourth Set 3-2 - A 67 finish from Jenkins to start is followed by a 76 checkout after he started the leg with back-to-back 180s. Van Gerwen then takes out 76 after a 180 and a 72 to level despite a Jenkins 180. A 177 helps van Gerwen take the set.
Fifth Set 3-2 - A 177 helps van Gerwen to the first leg,but Jenkins levels with a fine 122. He needs a 96 to level again after van Gerwen goes ahead, and it's the Dutchman who takes the decider with a 65 finish to clinch the match.

BENITO VAN DE PAS 0-4 ROBERT THORNTON
(1-3, 2-3, 1-3, 2-3)

THE memorable debut of Benito van de Pas at the William Hill World Darts Championship finally came to an end as Robert Thornton brought him back down to earth with a bump in a 4-0 third round victory.

After knocking out Paul Nicholson and Dave Chisnall, van de Pas's challenge ran out of steam, with Thornton averaging 96.5 and hitting four 180s and 15 scores of 140-plus.

Thornton also had a 156 finish to his name in the opening set, while van de Pas struggled to keep pace with just an 89 average as his opponent booked his place in the quarter-finals for the first time at Alexandra Palace.

Double ten put Thornton ahead and a superb 156 finish doubled the lead, before van de Pas replied with a 180 and double 16 - but it would not be enough to save the set.

Both men hit 180s in the second set's opener, which Thornton edged on double one, before van de Pas landed another maximum in a superb 12-darter to level. The next two legs were shared to force a decider, with double one again aiding the Scot as he moved 2-0 up in a key set.

Thornton fired in a 180 and a 98 finish for an 11-darter to open set three, only for van de Pas to answer in style with a 108 finish - but the 2012 UK Open champion finished tops in the next two as he took the set 3-1 to move into a three-set lead.

Van de Pas finished 120 to hit back in the fourth set's opener, and after a 14-darter put the Scot 2-1 up he also took out double ten to send the set all the way, but Thornton was too strong as he took the decider on double nine to seal victory and set up a huge clash with reigning champion van Gerwen on New Year's Day.

"Michael and I have had a few battles and I don't see this one being any different," said Thornton. "I'll need to tidy up my scoring a bit, it was a bit ragged up there at times, but I'm just glad that Benito didn't really turn up.

"It didnt feel like a 96 average up there, but I thought my finishing was pretty good."

Match Information
First Set 1-3 - A double ten to start, then a brilliant 156 for Thornton. Van de Pas hits a 180 to help get a leg back but Thornton takes the next on tops.
Second Set 2-3 - Both men hit 180s but Thornton takes the first leg. Van de Pas hits a 180 again to level. Thornton goes ahead then hits 180 - but a 56 levels for van de Pas. Thornton takes the decider.
Third Set 1-3 - Thornton follows a 180 with a 98 finish for an 11-darter. A 108 finish levels for van de Pas but 64 puts Thornton ahead, and he then hits tops for the set.
Fourth Set 2-3 - A Shanghai 120 gets van de Pas off to a flyer. Thornton wins the next two before van de Pas forces a fifth leg. Thornton takes out 36 on double nine for the match.


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