Phil Taylor returned to winning ways by winning the third UK Open qualifier of 2016, thanks to a 6-2 victory over his fierce rival Michael van Gerwen in Sunday’s final. Taylor averaged 109.59, compared to MvG’s 109.09, to secure his first ranking title of 2016, at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.
Taylor, who also reached the final in Friday’s opening UK Open qualifier, missed seven match darts against van Gerwen in last weekend’s Unibet Masters, but ‘The Power’ made no such mistake today, to claim the £10,000 winner’s cheque to secure his berth in the third round of the UK Open.
Taylor kicked off his campaign with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Ian Walters, before then coming through successive last-leg deciders, against Steve West and Jamie Caven respectively, to reach the last 16.
The 16-time world champion defeated Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney 6-2 to reach the last eight, where he saw off Peter Hudson with a 6-3 victory. However, Hudson enjoyed a spectacular run to the quarter-finals, which secures him a UK Open spot, whilst giving him a fantastic chance of being seeded for the event in Minehead.
Taylor saw off former world champion Mark Webster 6-3 in the semi-finals, before producing his best performance of the day against the world number one, who almost secured back-to-back UK Open qualifier victories for the second year in succession.
Van Gerwen enjoyed a somewhat serene passage through to the quarter-finals, whitewashing Shaun Griffiths and James Wilson, having thrashed Sven Groen 6-1 in the preceding round. MvG then defeated ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans 6-2 in the last 16, after Evans had dumped out his close friend David Pallett in the last 32.
‘The Green Machine’ faced John Henderson in the quarter-finals, with the Scot aiming to replicate his run to the semi-finals from Friday’s first qualifier. He had chances to do so, missing four match-darts to beat MvG, but the Dutchman escaped in a frantic deciding leg.
For the second day in succession, van Gerwen whitewashed his compatriot Benito van de Pas, this time in the last four, to set up an enticing final against Taylor; however the 55-year-old secured the spoils on this occasion. MvG had won their last five meetings, so this was an extremely important psychological victory for Taylor.
Elsewhere, Mark Webster enjoyed a fine run to the last four, before eventually succumbing to Taylor. Webster dropped just the solitary leg in beating Brian Woods and Nathan Derry respectively, before the Welshman produced fine victories over Premier League stars, James Wade and Michael Smith.
Benito van de Pas also impressed in Wigan on Sunday. Van de Pas was halted by van Gerwen on Saturday in the last 16, and history repeated itself, with Michael whitewashing Benito 6-0 in the semi-finals.
However, earlier in the day, the 23-year-old Dutchman defeated the likes of Dave Chisnall and Joe Cullen en route to the semi-finals, to virtually secure his spot in the Top 32 of the UK Open Order of Merit.
Brett Claydon and Reine Eidams also produced fine displays on Sunday, to essentially seal their UK Open spots. Claydon edged past Wayne Jones in a last-leg decider, before claiming the notable scalps of Jelle Klaasen and Mark Dudbridge.
Meanwhile Eidams, who memorably took Michael van Gerwen to a last-set decider in the first-round of last year’s World Championships, proved he isn’t a ‘flash in the pan’, by progressing through to the last 16 stage. Eidams beat Devon Petersen in the last 64, before upsetting Stephen Bunting in the following round.
Eight-time major winner James Wade enjoyed a profitable day after his consecutive second-round exits on Friday and Saturday. Wade entered Sunday’s qualifier without any money on the UK Open Order of Merit, but he reached the last 16, before losing out to fellow left-hander Mark Webster.
Wade eased through his opening two matches with fine 6-2 wins over Kyle Anderson and Ronnie Baxter respectively. He faced Raymond van Barneveld in the last 32, and after trailing 4-1, van Barneveld forced a deciding leg by virtue of a maximum 170 finish. However, in the last-leg, Raymond missed two match-darts as Wade edged through.
Robert Thornton endured another disappointing afternoon, following on from his second-round exit on Saturday. Thornton was beaten 6-5 by Dick van Dijk today, and his hopes of securing a place in the Top 32 of the UK Open Order of Merit are still in serious jeopardy.
Peter Wright also suffered another early exit, losing 6-4 to Devon Petersen in round two. Nevertheless, Snakebite’s run to the semi-finals in Friday’s first qualifier sealed his UK Open berth, so the Scot won’t be particularly perturbed.
His fellow Premier League stars enjoyed a better day; Michael Smith was beaten in the quarter-finals by Mark Webster, but ‘Bully-Boy’ recorded a remarkable 133 average in his second-round demolition of Jermaine Wattimena.
Friday’s winner Adrian Lewis was beaten by Smith in the last 16, whilst Dave Chisnall was knocked out in the last 16 for the third day in succession.
Three-time world champion John Part’s qualification hopes are in serious peril following a first-round exit to Wattimena, whilst Wes Newton was beaten in the second-round for the third successive afternoon. Justin Pipe claimed his first victory of the weekend with a win over Joey Ten Berge, but he was beaten in the following round by David Pallett.
Coral UK Open Qualifier Three
Sunday February 7, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Josh Payne 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Tony Newell 6-3 Paul Milford
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Kevin Painter
Peter Hudson 6-3 Adam Hunt
Devon Petersen 6-4 Peter Wright
Rene Eidams 6-2 Roxy-James Rodriguez
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Kurt Parry
Ricky Sudale 6-5 Jerry Hendriks
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Christian Kist 6-2 Adam Huckvale
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Kirk Sheperd
William O’Connor 6-0 Michael Burgoine
Jamie Caven 6-0 Ryan Harrington
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Colin Osborne
Phil Taylor 6-1 Ian Walters
Steve West 6-4 Nick Fullwell
Dick van Dijk 6-5 Robert Thornton
Steve Hine 6-2 John Newland
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Matt Clark
Andy Boulton 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Michael Smith 6-0 Jermaine Wattimena
Ken Macneil 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Ian White 6-1 Arron Monk
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-2 Michael Rasztovits
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Michael Dawson
Jason Marriot 6-3 Simon Stevenson
James Wade 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Ronnie Baxter 6-0 Joey Palfreyman
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Curtis Hammond
Nathan Derry 6-5 Ted Evetts
Mark Webster 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Brian Woods 6-2 Chris Hill
Ross Smith 6-4 Wes Newton
Mark Dudbridge 6-4 Jan Dekker
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Mark Barilli
Brett Claydon 6-5 Wayne Jones
Mark Frost 6-3 Steve Beaton
Robbie Green 6-3 Nigel Daniels
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Eddie Dootson
Joe Cullen 6-0 Nigel Heydon
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Rocco Maes
Pete Dyos 6-2 Matt Padgett
Jay Foreman 6-2 Dean Winstanley
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Steve Brown
Terry Jenkins 6-1 Mark Walsh
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Lee Evans
Benito van de Pas 6-0 Tomas Seyler
Dennis Smith 6-0 Lee Whitworth
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Kevin Thomas
Scott Taylor 6-1 Joe Murnan
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Mike Zuydwijk
Alan Norris 6-3 Scott Dale
John Henderson 6-0 Jonathan Worsley
Johnny Haines 6-3 Jamie Guilfoyle
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Ricky Williams
Robert Marijanovic 6-3 Terry Temple
James Wilson 6-3 Mervyn King
Barrie Bates 6-1 Ryan Short
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Shaun Griffiths
Sven Groen 6-5 James Richardson
Justin Pipe 6-3 Joey Ten Berge
David Pallett 6-4 Ryan Palmer
Jamie Lewis 6-3 Dave Ladley
Ricky Evans 6-4 Sam Head
Tony Newell 6-3 Josh Payne
Peter Hudson 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Rene Eidams 6-3 Devon Petersen
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Ricky Sudale
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Christian Kist
Daryl Gurney 6-1 William O’Connor
Jamie Caven 6-2 Jeffrey de Graaf
Phil Taylor 6-5 Steve West
Dick van Dijk 6-3 Steve Hine
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Andy Boulton
Michael Smith 6-1 Ken Macneil
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Ian White
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Jason Marriot
James Wade 6-2 Ronnie Baxter
Nathan Derry 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Mark Webster 6-0 Brian Woods
Mark Dudbridge 6-3 Ross Smith
Brett Claydon 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Robbie Green 6-5 Mark Frost
Joe Cullen 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Pete Dyos
Jay Foreman 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Dennis Smith
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Scott Taylor
Alan Norris 6-1 Andrew Gilding
John Henderson 6-2 Johnny Haines
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Robert Marijanovic
James Wilson 6-2 Barrie Bates
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Sven Groen
David Pallett 6-5 Justin Pipe
Ricky Evans 6-1 Jamie Lewis
Peter Hudson 6-3 Tony Newell
Rene Eidams 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 6-5 Jamie Caven
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Dick van Dijk
Michael Smith 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
James Wade 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Mark Webster 6-1 Nathan Derry
Brett Claydon 6-4 Mark Dudbridge
Joe Cullen 6-2 Robbie Green
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Jay Foreman
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Alan Norris
John Henderson 6-1 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 James Wilson
Ricky Evans 6-3 David Pallett
Peter Hudson 6-2 Rene Eidams
Phil Taylor 6-2 Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Mark Webster 6-3 James Wade
Joe Cullen 6-2 Brett Claydon
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Dave Chisnall
John Henderson 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Ricky Evans
Phil Taylor 6-3 Peter Hudson
Mark Webster 6-4 Michael Smith
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 John Henderson
Phil Taylor 6-3 Mark Webster
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Benito van de Pas
Phil Taylor 6-2 Michael van Gerwen