Jonny Clayton landed his first televised nine-darter as he progressed through to the UK Open quarter-finals on a dramatic double-session in Minehead, as world champion Peter Wright and his World Cup partner Gary Anderson crashed out in the last 16.
Clayton, who featured as a Premier League ‘challenger’ in Cardiff just over a fortnight ago, produced the perfect nine in the 12th leg of his clash against Chris Dobey, following up back-to-back maximums with a stunning 141 checkout.
Clayton’s nine-darter was the ninth in UK Open history, and the first since Van Gerwen achieved the feat in 2016. It was also the 13th in a PDC event so far in 2020 and the second in a televised event within a fortnight, following Michael Smith’s perfect leg in the Premier League in Dublin.
However, ‘The Ferret’ – who eased past Joe Cullen in his fifth round tie earlier in the day, had to fend off a valiant fightback from Dobey, who converted finishes of 117 and 104 as he recovered from 5-0 down to trail 9-8, only for the Welshman to hold his nerve and keep his title hopes alive.
Elsewhere, Clayton’s fellow countryman Gerwyn Price celebrated his 35th birthday in style, defeating Ricky Evans and Gabriel Clemens to reach the last eight of the FA Cup of Darts for the fourth consecutive year.
The Grand Slam champion kicked off Saturday’s proceedings with an emphatic 10-3 success over Evans, before edging past Germany’s number two Clemens in a pulsating deciding-leg, averaging 102 and firing in an 11-darter to secure his progression.
World champion Wright was dumped out by his fellow Premier League star Daryl Gurney in the evening’s curtain-raiser. ‘Snakebite’ defeated Glen Durrant and Ian White en route to round six, although he was unable to overcome the Northern Irishman.
Gurney, who survived match darts against Keegan Brown on Friday, remarkably fought back from 7-1 down to triumph against William O’Connor on Saturday afternoon and he took full advantage of his reprieve to close out a 10-6 success with a 99 average and three ton-plus checkouts.
Having dumped out defending champion Nathan Aspinall on Friday, world number one Michael van Gerwen survived a major scare in his fifth round clash against the unheralded Jason Lowe, relinquishing a 5-0 buffer before edging past the veteran in a nervy decider, with both men averaging 95.
Nevertheless, ‘The Green Machine’ produced a vintage display to sweep aside two-time winner James Wade in the sixth round, averaging 108.30, crashing in six maximums and converting 71% of his attempts at double to remain on course for a third UK Open triumph.
Last year’s finalist Rob Cross defeated the St Helen’s duo of Michael Smith and Stephen Bunting in two gruelling tussles to continue his bid for a third major title in nine months. ‘Voltage’ wasn’t at his blistering best in either match, but he produced some clutch finishing to battle through.
The 2018 world champion edged out Smith 10-9 in a repeat of last year’s World Matchplay final after ‘Bully Boy’ wired the bull for a 164 roof-raiser in the decider, before defeating Bunting 10-8 in a preview of their impending Premier League clash in Liverpool next Thursday.
Jelle Klaasen continued his resurgence to reach his first major quarter-final since October 2016, dumping out 2018 champion Gary Anderson en route to the last eight. ‘The Cobra’ dispatched Steve West 10-1 in the afternoon session, although his clash against the Scot went to the wire.
Anderson recovered from his Premier League defeat against Luke Humphries in Exeter by seeing off Steve Beaton and Simon Stevenson to reach the sixth round, yet ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was denied by a clinical Klaasen, who prevailed with a 93 average and eight maximums.
Jamie Hughes secured the scalp of Mensur Suljovic to seal a place in his first major PDC televised quarter-final. ‘Yozza’ saw off Martin Atkins in round five, before winning seven of the last nine legs to complete a convincing 10-5 triumph over ‘The Gentle’.
Two-time World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh is through to the quarter-finals for the first time in his career, following up a convincing win over Matthew Edgar by rallying from 4-0 behind to overcome Fallon Sherrock’s conqueror Kyle McKinstry in a hard-fought tussle.
The draw for the quarter-finals was made live on stage following the conclusion of Saturday’s action and the highlight is a clash between Van Gerwen and Cross, in a repeat of last year’s Premier League final.
Price will lock horns with Van den Bergh, Gurney meets a resurgent Klaasen and the fourth quarter-final will see nine-dart hero Clayton take on Hughes for a place in Sunday evening’s semi-finals.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2020 Ladbrokes UK Open
Saturday March 7
Chris Dobey 10-5 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Jason Lowe
Peter Wright 10-6 Ian White
Rob Cross 10-9 Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney 10-9 William O’Connor
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Ricky Evans
James Wade 10-1 Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson 10-5 Simon Stevenson
Jonny Clayton 10-4 Joe Cullen
Mensur Suljovic 10-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Stephen Bunting 10-2 Alan Tabern
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-4 Matthew Edgar
Jamie Hughes 10-7 Martin Atkins
Jelle Klaasen 10-1 Steve West
Kyle McKinstry 10-5 Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens 10-6 Andy Boulton
Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 James Wade
Jelle Klaasen 10-9 Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney 10-6 Peter Wright
Jonny Clayton 10-8 Chris Dobey – Jonny Clayton hits nine-darter!
Jamie Hughes 10-5 Mensur Suljovic
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Kyle McKinstry
Rob Cross 10-8 Stephen Bunting
UK Open Quarter-Final Draw:
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney vs Jelle Klaasen
Jamie Hughes vs Jonny Clayton