World Darts Championship - Sunday Evening Round-Up
Phil Taylor and Andy Hamilton set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash at the World Darts Championship with victories at Alexandra Palace on Sunday night, as Michael van Gerwen secured his place in the last 16 of the event.
Stoke pair Taylor and Hamilton claimed victories over Robert Thornton and Terry Jenkins respectively to become the first players into the last eight of the £1 million tournament.
The remaining third round games will be played on December 27 following the three-day Christmas break, but both Taylor and Hamilton produced their best performances so far this year to set up their quarter-final tie.
Taylor dropped only three legs as he swept past UK Open champion Robert Thornton in straight sets to follow up his previous wins over Michael Mansell and Jerry Hendriks with a comprehensive triumph.
"I'm really happy with that and my performances are getting better," said Taylor, the 2/1 favourite to win the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year's Day. "I know Robert's a dangerous opponent, but he missed a couple of crucial doubles tonight. Winning the last leg of the third set was important for me, making sure he didn't win a set back, and I finished him off well after that. I've put so much work into this and it will mean a huge amount if I can win this now and I'll concentrate on getting prepared for the quarter-finals because Andy's been playing some fantastic darts."
Hamilton, meanwhile, defied a superb 13 180s from Terry Jenkins to take a 4-1 win over the seven-time major finalist, who took the game's opening set but missed doubles to win three others as last year's runner-up continued his challenge to reach another final.
"I'm delighted to be through," said Hamilton. "I started slowly but once I got into the game I thought I recovered really well. I only had to two 180s and Terry had 13, but it shows that the phrase 'trebles for show, doubles for dough' is right because my finishing was brilliant, and it had to be because my scoring wasn't great. There was a lot of pressure on me tonight because I wanted to win this game so I can have a great Christmas - and I'll relax now and prepare myself for the quarter-finals."
Second favourite Michael van Gerwen, meanwhile, produced an impressive comeback from two sets down to power past Peter Wright 4-2 in their second round clash, as the Dutchman completed the last 16 line-up.
Van Gerwen won 12 of the game's final 14 legs, hitting a ten-darter and 12 maximums as well as recording a superb average of 102.13 to set up a third round clash with Colin Lloyd on Thursday.
"Peter hit some great finishes early on and I was in a bit of trouble," admitted van Gerwen. "After the second break I felt more comfortable and started to hit the big scores consistently, which got me back into the match. I'll have a good Christmas before I play Colin Lloyd. He's a former world number one, so I'm well aware that it will be a tough game."
Earlier on Sunday, Dean Winstanley recorded a sensational nine-dart finish during his 4-2 defeat to Dutchman Vincent van der Voort, who edged the final two sets of the game in a deciding leg as he progressed.
Winstanley, though, is in line for a £15,000 bonus after becoming only the third player - after Raymond van Barneveld, who has landed two nine-darters at Alexandra Palace, and Adrian Lewis - to achieve the feat in the PDC World Championship.
Van der Voort, meanwhile, will play number three seed James Wade in the third round, with the two-time semi-finalist defeating Steve Beaton 4-2 in their clash.
Mark Walsh was also a 4-2 winner as he booked a last 16 date with Wes Newton following the Christmas break by defeating Justin Pipe, the number 11 seed.
World Darts Championship
Sunday December 23
3x Second Round
Justin Pipe 2-4 Mark Walsh
Dean Winstanley 2-4 Vincent van der Voort - Dean Winstanley hits nine-dart finish
James Wade 4-2 Steve Beaton
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Peter Wright
Andy Hamilton 4-1 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 4-0 Robert Thornton
Thursday December 27
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
3x Third Round
Wes Newton v Mark Walsh
Simon Whitlock v Dave Chisnall
James Wade v Vincent van der Voort
Evening Session (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Colin Lloyd
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v Kevin Painter
Best of seven sets, best of five legs per set
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Peter Wright
(1-3, 2-3, 3-0, 3-1, 3-0, 3-1)
Michael Van Gerwen came from two sets down to seal a third round tie against Colin Lloyd on December 27 following a superb 4-2 defeat of Peter Wright in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship on Sunday night.
World Grand Prix champion van Gerwen found himself in trouble when he lost the opening two sets against Wright, the number 26 seed who took the opener 3-1 and edged the second.
However, the 23-year-old kick-started his challenge by winning the third set with legs of 12, ten and 16 darts as he began a run of taking 12 legs out of 14 in powering to victory.Van Gerwen hit a 180 in the opening leg, but three missed doubles allowed Wright to edge ahead on double top before the Lowestoft ace took out double nine to take the second after the Dutch youngster missed the bullseye.
Wright, who defeated former World Youth Champion Arron Monk in the first round, took the third thanks to accurate dart at tops to leave van Gerwen a set down.
Van Gerwen made an improved start the second set by winning the first leg with a 71 finish, before hitting double 16 to take the second.
The World Grand Prix champion then missed one dart at double eight to win the set in the third leg, and Wright took out 64 on tops to hit back.
He then hit an excellent 121 finish to win the fourth leg, defying a 180 from his opponent, and although van Gerwen landed a brace of maximums in the decider, a 12-darter from the Scottish World Cup ace gave him the set.
Van Gerwen's heavy scoring continued at the start of the third set as he hit a trio of 140 scores in a 12-darter as he took the opening leg.
The number seven seed then hit a fabulous ten-darter to win the second leg, before taking the third on double 16 to win the set in five minutes in only 38 darts.
Wright hit a 180 in the process of taking the first leg of the fourth set, but a missed dart at tops allowed van Gerwen an opportunity to level, which he duly took by landing the same double.
Van Gerwen hit a 12-dart finish to win the third leg, and an accurate attempt at double 16 in the fourth levelled the match at two sets apiece, after Wright was off-target with a dart at tops.
Van Gerwen hit a 14-darter to kick off the fifth set before hitting double eight in the second to break throw, and he left a finish after nine darts in the third leg before posting double 16 to take a sixth successive leg and move 3-2 up in the game.
Van Gerwen won the first leg of the sixth set by taking out 74, but three missed darts at double 18 proved expensive in the next as Wright converted a fantastic 141 checkout to win his first leg in seven.
The 23-year-old hit a 12th maximum in the third leg, before a two-dart 80 finish secured moved him back ahead, and an accurate first dart at double 12 secured victory.
Afterwards, Wright said: "I really believe that you are looking at the next World Champion.
"Michael played really well after I went two sets up and I couldn't do much to stop him. I enjoyed the game, and to play in front such a great crowd as this was unbelievable."
Andy Hamilton 4-1 Terry Jenkins
(1-3, 3-2, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2)
Andy Hamilton booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship with a fine 4-1 victory over number nine seed Terry Jenkins at Alexandra Palace.
Jenkins won the first set of the match but let four chances to double his lead go begging, allowing Hamilton to level.
Hamilton won the next two sets to move 3-1 up, punishing Jenkins for missing chances to level in the fourth, before edging the fifth with a superb 130 checkout to seal the win, despite his opponent hitting 13 180s.
"I started really slowly and couldn't get into the game at first, but I'm delighted with the way I recovered," said Hamilton, who has reached at the least the quarter-finals of every televised event other than the UK Open this year.
"Terry did miss a lot of doubles but I took all the chances that came my way, and it's a wonderful feeling to be through to the quarter-finals.
"I'm going to home now have a nice Christmas and come back and keep playing the way I have been."
Hamilton took out 64 to break Jenkins' throw in the opening leg, but the seven-time major finalist hit back by landing double two in the second, a 120 finish in leg three and tops to secure the opening set.
Jenkins hit a 180 at the start of set two, but Hamilton won the leg on tops before his opponent held throw on double 15 to level.
Jenkins broke in the third leg thanks to an accurate dart at double six, but three darts at tops to win the set were off-target and the Stoke ace hit double four with a pressure third dart.
Hamilton held the advantage of throw in the deciding leg, and he produced excellent 13-darter to take the set and square the contest.
The Stoke ace hit a 14-dart finish to begin the third set before taking out 85 in two darts to win the second leg and double his advantage.
Jenkins hit a 180 in the third, but a missed dart at double top was costly as Hamilton took out an 86 finish, on double 16, to win the set without reply and lead 2-1.
Hamilton won a sixth leg in a row to make a positive start to the fourth set, before Jenkins stopped the rot with a superb 11-dart finish.
Jenkins hit a ninth 180 in the third leg, and he stepped in after Hamilton missed a dart at tops to finish a 13-darter on the same bed.
The fourth leg saw Jenkins miss three chances to win the set, and Hamilton capitalised by taking out a 72 finish to force a decider in which three 180s were landed - including two from the Ledbury ace before he missed a further four set darts as the 2012 finalist landed double 16 to move two sets clear.
The number eight seed claimed a break of throw at the start of the fifth set by taking out an 88 finish, only for Jenkins to hit back by hitting double 19 at the first time of asking.
Jenkins then won the third leg, with an accurate attempt at double top to complete a 98 finish, but Hamilton took the fourth in 13 darts to move a leg away from triumph.
Jenkins missed one dart at tops in the deciding leg to keep his hopes alive, and Hamilton stepped in to finish a superb 130 checkout to cross the winning line in style.
Phil Taylor 4-0 Robert Thornton
(3-1, 3-0, 3-2, 3-0)
Phil Taylor moved into the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship quarter-finals with a comfortable straight sets victory over Robert Thornton in their third round contest at Alexandra Palace.
Thornton entered the contest having picked up victories over the world number one in both the UK Open final and World Grand Prix this year, but never looked likely to claim a third triumph.
He took just three legs as Taylor cruised into the quarter-finals, hitting finishes of 131 and 105 in the process of setting up a clash with Andy Hamilton on December 28.
"I'm really happy with that and my performances are getting better," said Taylor, the 2/1 favourite with sponsors Ladbrokes to win the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year's Day.
"I know Robert's a dangerous opponent, but he missed a couple of crucial doubles tonight. Winning the last leg of the third set was important for me, making sure he didn't win a set back, and I finished him off well after that.
"I've put so much work into this and it will mean a huge amount if I can win this now and I'll concentrate on getting prepared for the quarter-finals because Andy's been playing some fantastic darts.
"If I could come through and win the tournament, and be the first name engraved on the Sid Waddell Trophy, would be very special to me."
Thornton, who defeated Paul Nicholson in an epic second round encounter, held throw at the start of the match on double top before hitting a 180 in the second leg.
However, Taylor levelled with a superb 131 checkout before breaking Thornton's throw in leg three by hitting double 16 with his third dart, and landed double 18 in the next leg to wrap up the first set.
Taylor won the opening leg of the second set by hitting double 16 at the first attempt before taking second on tops, after Thornton was just off-target on the bullseye for a 167 checkout.
Taylor then punished three further misses from Thornton to land double eight and win the set without reply to double his advantage.
The 15-time World Champion kicked off the third set with a clinical 105 checkout, before the Scot hit back to take the second with a fabulous ten-darter which earned him only his second leg of the match.
Thornton continued the fine finishing in the third leg, as he took out 121 on double 18 before Taylor landed double eight to take the fourth and level.
Thornton held throw in the deciding leg, but Taylor put together a clinical 13-dart finish to move a set away from a place in the last eight.
Taylor took the first leg of the fourth set on double 15, after Thornton let two chances at double top go begging, and the second leg followed a similar pattern as the Stoke ace stepped in to punish further misses with a clinical 88 checkout.
He then wrapped up a comprehensive victory in style by taking out 81 to complete a 12-dart leg and set up a quarter-final against his Stoke rival Hamilton.
"I missed too many doubles and Phil punished me, because he never seemed to miss," admitted Thornton. "I never settled down on stage and you saw glimpses of the real Phil there."