Phil Taylor whitewashed former World Youth champion Keegan Brown to reach his 25th World Championship quarter-final and set up a showdown against two-time world champion Gary Anderson on Friday evening, after another eventful day of action at the Alexandra Palace.
Taylor is bidding to draw down the curtain on his illustrious career by lifting a 17th World Championship title on New Year’s Day, and his dreams of a fairy-tale farewell were boosted after he produced a vintage display to storm past Keegan Brown in the last 16.
‘The Power’ averaged 101.34, landed four maximums and boasted a brilliant 63% checkout conversion rate to record a comprehensive victory over Brown, who performed better than the scoreline may suggest.
Taylor claimed the opening set 3-1 with a 103 average, successfully converting all three of his attempts at double. The Stoke-on-Trent veteran then clinched the second set without reply; conjuring up a classy 122 kill on the bull to pile on the pain for Brown, who was appearing in the last 16 of the World Championship for the first time.
The 16-time world champion moved 2-0 ahead in the third and had relinquished just one leg, but Brown stopped the rot via D5, before dispatching a fine 94 checkout to force a decider in set three. The Isle of Wight ace missed D18 for a 110 finish which would have halved the deficit, before Taylor landed the knockout blow.
The 57-year-old conjured up a magical moment; taking out a 99 finish culminating in a tops-tops combination, which saw him move 3-0 ahead. Brown continued to battle as he produced 124 and 66 finishes to force another set decider in the fourth, but once again Taylor produced a classy finish; taking out 106 to seal a straight sets triumph.
‘The Power’ will now take on two-time world champion Gary Anderson for a place in the semi-finals, but the third seed has injury concerns ahead of Friday night’s clash. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ squandered an incredible twelve match darts before eventually defeating Steve West 4-2, averaging 95.40 and crashing in seven maximums.
West spurned one dart to clinch the opening set as Anderson drew first blood with a clinical 104 kill in the decider, but the Waltham Abbey ace responded strongly; winning the second set 3-1 to restore parity at one apiece.
The Scot won the third set by the same scoreline to regain the initiative, before West hammered home a remarkable 170 finish to level the fourth set and force a decider. The Englishman had the opportunity to level up proceedings at 2-2 but for the second time he squandered a set dart, as Anderson gratefully pegged D1 to claim a 3-1 advantage.
The roles were reversed in set five as West survived two match darts from Anderson to post D5 and prolong the contest, before a dramatic sixth set ensued. The world number three was dominating the scoring stakes but was visibly struggling with a lower-back problem that has plagued him over recent weeks.
Anderson spurned a further seven match darts in a dramatic fourth leg as West found D10 to stay alive, before the two-time world champion eventually followed up his seventh 180 by pinning D4 with his 13th match dart to crawl over the finishing line. Nevertheless, his back injury is a major concern ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Taylor.
Jamie Lewis is through to his first World Championship quarter-final after coming from a set down to defeat James Richardson 4-1. Lewis only qualified for this event by winning the third place play-off in November’s PDPA World Championship qualifier, but he followed up his stunning second-round win over Peter Wright with another fine display.
Richardson won a scrappy opening set which saw Lewis wire the bullseye for a spectacular 164 outshot, but the Welshman levelled up proceedings at one apiece with a 13-dart hold in a second set decider.
‘Fireball’ then clinched the third set without reply which included a stunning 170 checkout, before he producing a sublime sequence of legs to seal command of the contest. Richardson led 2-1 in the fourth, but Lewis drew level with a 121 finish for a 12-dart break, before registering a sensational 10-dart hold in the following leg.
This visibly deflated ‘Ruthless’ as Lewis eased into a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Richardson took out 56 to stay alive, but the 26-year-old Welshman followed up his fifth maximum by pegging D5 to complete a fine victory, with an average of over 96.
World Youth champion Dimitri van den Bergh continued his remarkable rise to whitewash fifth seed Mensur Suljovic and seal a place in his maiden World Championship quarter-final. ‘The Dream-Maker’ averaged 96.60, landed six maximums and converted 41% of his attempts at double to dismantle ‘The Gentle’.
The first set was a nervy affair, but the Belgian drew first blood; kicking off proceedings with a 120 outshot before cleaning it up on D16. Suljovic, usually so composed under pressure, was struggling to produce when it mattered and Van den Bergh defied some double-trouble to move 2-0 ahead after eventually pegging D1.
Suljovic then spurned three set darts to halve the deficit to 2-1 and this proved expensive, as Van den Bergh piled in a nerveless two-dart 64 combination to extend his cushion to 3-0.
The Belgian kicked off the fourth set with six perfect darts to hit the front, but Suljovic held throw to keep his slender hopes alive. Nevertheless, the Champions League winner then spurned three darts to break and Van den Bergh pounced; taking out a clinical 115 to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly wrapped up with a sublime 11-darter.
Van den Bergh will now take on Rob Cross for a place in the last-four, after ‘Voltage’ continued his impressive form to secure a quarter-final berth on his World Championship debut. Cross averaged 99.78, posted seven maximums and defied four ton-plus finishes from World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson to prevail 4-1.
The former electrician opened his account with a brilliant 11-dart leg, eventually wrapping up the opening set with an average of over 110. Henderson crashed in 109 and 101 finishes as he attempted to restore parity, but Cross was unfazed; piling in a fine 14-dart leg in a second set decider to double his lead.
However, Henderson continued his imperious finishing in the third set. ‘The Highlander’ was being comprehensively outscored by Cross, but he converted brilliant 136 and 125 checkouts to reduce the arrears to 2-1.
Despite this, Cross averted any fears of a comeback by dispatching finishes of 102 and 64 to restore his two-set buffer, before sealing the fifth set without reply. The 20th seed kicked off the contest with an 11-darter and sealed his progression in similarly magnificent style, registering a 10-dart leg to round-off another fine display.
Elsewhere, Darren Webster secured a place in the World Championship quarter-finals for the first time since 2007, after recording a 4-0 whitewash win over Spanish qualifier Toni Alcinas. ‘The Demolition Man’ was in clinical mood; averaging 94.54, landing three maximums and converting 52% of his attempts at double to seal his progression.
Alcinas narrowly missed tops for a 120 finish for a break of throw in the third leg of the opening set and he was ruthlessly punished, as Webster hammered home a brilliant 148 checkout en route to drawing first blood.
The Norfolk star continued his clinical finishing to dispatch 72 and 75 kills to double his advantage, before Alcinas posted a sublime 11-darter to establish a 2-0 lead in set three. However, the Spaniard was unable to mount a comeback as Webster then reeled off six legs in succession to set up a quarter-final showdown against Jamie Lewis.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
|Toni Alcinas||0-4||Darren Webster (23)|
|Mensur Suljovic (5)||0-4||Dimitri van den Bergh|
|John Henderson (29)||1-4||Rob Cross (20)|
|Jamie Lewis||4-1||James Richardson|
|Keegan Brown||0-4||Phil Taylor (6)|
|Gary Anderson (3)||4-2||Steve West|