Defending champion Michael van Gerwen and world No 1 Gerwyn Price were among the eight players to reach the quarter-finals of the 2021 Ladbrokes UK Open, following a thrilling day of darts in Milton Keynes on Saturday.
The world’s top two will return to compete in Finals Day at the Marshall Arena on Sunday, where the title and £100,000 top prize will be up for grabs, with Van Gerwen and two-time winner James Wade the only former champions left standing.
‘The Green Machine’ eased past Mensur Suljovic in round five on Saturday afternoon, winning nine of the final ten legs as he recovered from 3-1 down to close out an emphatic victory over ‘The Gentle’.
However, Van Gerwen survived a major scare in his last 16 clash against Jose De Sousa, who accounted for Michael Smith in a 19-leg thriller earlier in the day. ‘The Special One’ contested a last-leg decider for the third consecutive game, although the Dutchman prevailed on this occasion.
Van Gerwen will meet Krzysztof Ratajski for a place in the semi-finals, after ‘The Polish Eagle’ posted ton-plus averages in defeating Madars Razma and Jonny Clayton respectively.
Ratajski rallied from 8-6 down to deny Razma, before producing an imperious display to thrash Clayton 10-3. ‘The Ferret’ averaged 108.39 in his fifth round win over Dirk van Duijvenbode, but Ratajski turned the tables on the Welshman, averaging 103.5 to dump out the Masters champion.
Gerwyn Price enjoyed more serene progression as he booked his spot in Finals Day with convincing wins over Ricky Evans and Chris Dobey. The world champion began the day with a dominant 10-3 win over ‘Rapid’, before averaging 102.1 to close out a convincing 10-5 success against Dobey.
‘The Iceman’ celebrates his 36th birthday on Sunday and he’ll be hoping to crown it with a maiden UK Open title, having previously progressed to the final back in 2017. His next assignment will see him take on Devon Petersen, who is through to a second UK Open quarter-final.
‘The African Warrior’ claimed the scalp of former Grand Slam champion Scott Waites in round five, before reeling off eight successive legs to cruise past surprise package Peter Jacques, after the Yorkshireman followed up a deciding-leg win over Max Hopp by establishing a 4-2 lead against Petersen.
Nine-time major winner James Wade will take on his old rival Simon Whitlock for a place in the last four, after ‘The Machine’ kept alive his bid for a third UK Open title with clinical victories over Rob Cross and Gabriel Clemens in Milton Keynes.
‘The Machine’ defied a ton-plus average from 2019 finalist Cross to complete a 10-7 success, which was followed by a resounding victory over Gabriel Clemens. ‘The German Giant’ dumped out Daryl Gurney earlier in the day, but he was second-best against Wade, who stormed to a 10-5 success.
Whitlock’s progression was far more dramatic. ‘The Wizard’ fired in a spectacular 11-darter to edge past Darius Labanauskas in a thrilling last-leg decider in round five, and his last 16 tussle against Brendan Dolan also went the distance, with Whitlock landing ten 180s en route to victory.
Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall is through to his first UK Open quarter-final for nine years following a string of impressive performances. The five-time major finalist sent 2017 champion Peter Wright packing on the opening night, and he was equally impressive across Saturday’s double session.
The world No 7 prevailed in a high-quality fifth round encounter against former World Series finalist Danny Noppert; averaging 104.4 to wrap up a narrow 10-8 victory, before battling back from 8-6 adrift to deny Alan Soutar a quarter-final spot in his first televised PDC event.
Chisnall’s reward is a last eight showdown against former World Youth champion Luke Humphries. ‘Cool Hand’ ran out a 10-7 winner against Ryan Searle in a high-quality affair, and he then swept aside Martijn Kleermaker to seal a spot in his third major ranking quarter-final.
Sunday’s Finals Day will see the draw for the semi-finals made at the conclusion of the quarter-finals, before the decisive semi-finals and final are played in the evening session, and you can catch all the action live on ITV4.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2021 Ladbrokes UK Open
Saturday March 6
James Wade 10-7 Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Ricky Evans
José de Sousa 10-9 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Mensur Suljovic
Simon Whitlock 10-9 Darius Labanauskas
Gabriel Clemens 10-7 Daryl Gurney
Chris Dobey 10-1 John Brown
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Luke Humphries 10-7 Ryan Searle
Martijn Kleermaker 10-6 Callan Rydz
Alan Soutar 10-7 Ron Meulenkamp
Brendan Dolan 10-6 Luke Woodhouse
Peter Jacques 10-9 Max Hopp
Devon Petersen 10-5 Scott Waites
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-8 Madars Razma
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Danny Noppert
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Alan Soutar
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-3 Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price 10-5 Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Jose de Sousa
Luke Humphries 10-4 Martijn Kleermaker
Devon Petersen 10-4 Peter Jacques
Simon Whitlock 10-9 Brendan Dolan
James Wade 10-5 Gabriel Clemens
Sunday March 7
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
Gerwyn Price v Devon Petersen
Dave Chisnall v Luke Humphries
Krzysztof Ratajski v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Semi-Finals & Final
Best of 21 legs