Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld will clash in the Coral UK Open quarter-finals this afternoon after winning through the second day of the multi-board tournament in Minehead.
World number three Wright, the runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in the past two years, continued his bid to capitalise on the Dutchman’s absence due to a back injury to claim his first televised title with two wins in Saturday’s play.
He firstly saw off Dave Chisnall 10-5 before then overcoming emerging star Rob Cross 10-6 as he secured his place in the last eight.
Wright, the 6/4 tournament favourite with sponsors Coral, is aiming to claim his first TV title when the final stages take place at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Sunday, with a £70,000 first prize on offer.
“I didn’t feel great against Rob and I struggled but he’s a very dangerous player and I got away with the win,” said Wright. “I’ll have a nice sleep tonight and be nice and fresh for Raymond.
“I’m happy and it should be a great game against Barney for the crowd.”
2006 and 2007 champion Van Barneveld followed up his 10-3 win over Ron Meulenkamp in the afternoon session with a battling 10-7 defeat of Alan Tabern.
St Helens left-hander Tabern, a semi-finalist in 2006, had enjoyed a memorable two days as he won four games to reach the last 16, and led Van Barneveld 7-6 during an entertaining contest.
However, an 11-darter saw the Dutchman break throw to level before he reeled off the next three legs to seal the win.
Simon Whitlock continued his bid to claim a second televised title with his 10-7 win over William O’Connor, with a 158 checkout firing his recovery from 2-0 down as he reached his first UK Open quarter-final.
“I’m pretty happy,” said Whitlock. “I haven’t played my best yet but I’ll be ready for tomorrow. I’m not being talked about, I’ve been winning tournaments again and I feel a little underdone by people.
“I’m coming back from a long spell of disappointing darts from myself, I’ve worked hard for the last two years and I’m playing better than I’ve ever played to be honest.
“I believe I’m going to win this tournament, I’m feeling good and I’ve nothing to lose.”
Whitlock now plays Daryl Gurney, who won through to his third televised ranking event quarter-final in the space of six months by seeing off Mark Webster 10-3 and Vincent van der Voort 10-5.
The Northern Irish ace had trailed Van der Voort 5-4, but the Dutchman missed four doubles in the tenth leg as Gurney levelled before he pulled clear to win the next five for the victory.
“I always have cracking games with Simon,” said Gurney. “We always seem to find one another in the draw and hopefully it’s going to be a cracking game again.”
Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts won through to his first UK Open quarter-final in a dramatic 19-leg thriller against Joe Cullen, who missed one match dart at double 18 in the decider.
Checkouts of 140 and 160 from Cullen were bettered by five ton-plus finishes from Huybrechts – of 130, 167, 126, 100 and 100 – before he recovered from a slip in the final leg to land double ten for the narrowest of wins.
“Joe had some good finishes, especially at the beginning, and I had to dig deep to win the game,” said Huybrechts. “The 140 and 160 set the tone for the game so I’m very relieved that I’ve won.
“As long as you’re in the tournament you’ve got a chance, so I’ll see what happens tomorrow and everyone’s got a chance now.”
Huybrechts will take on Alan Norris in the quarter-finals, with the Somerset-born thrower defeating young talents Michael Smith and Benito van de Pas to continue his best UK Open run.
Ian White moved through to his second UK Open quarter-final in the space of four years with a 10-3 win over Watford’s Martin Lukeman, who was appearing in the last 16 on his debut in the event.
White, though, showed his experience by racing into a 7-0 lead, landing finishes of 104, 101 and 109, and though Lukeman took out 106 to respond, the Stoke ace checked out 160 as he moved into the last eight.
White will meet Gerwyn Price in the last eight, with the Welshman following up his fourth round win over David Pallett by ending the hopes of the final Rileys Amateur Qualifier Paul Hogan.
Hogan had knocked out former World Champions Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis in his brilliant run to the last 16, but was outplayed as Price won through to his second televised quarter-final.
The Coral UK Open concludes on Sunday, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
Wright is the 6/4 favourite with Coral, with Van Barneveld the 7/2 second favourite as he bids for his third title, Whitlock rated at 7/1 to win his second TV tournament and Huybrechts 9/1 as he aims for a maiden televised title.
Gurney and Norris are both rated at 12/1, with White 14/1 and Price the 16/1 outsider as that quartet also look to pick up their first televised triumphs.
Coral UK Open
Saturday March 4
Daryl Gurney 10-3 Mark Webster
Alan Norris 10-5 Benito van de Pas
Raymond van Barneveld 10-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Peter Wright 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Gerwyn Price 10-4 David Pallett
Kim Huybrechts 10-1 Ted Evetts
Vincent van der Voort 10-9 Jelle Klaasen
Paul Hogan 10-6 Adrian Lewis
William O’Connor 10-6 Ronnie Baxter
Martin Lukeman 10-5 Chris Dobey
Joe Cullen 10-5 Cristo Reyes
Simon Whitlock 10-6 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Alan Tabern 10-6 John Michael
Rob Cross 10-5 Ryan Searle
Ian White 10-7 Kirk Shepherd
Michael Smith 10-8 Jermaine Wattimena
Played across two stages
Gerwyn Price 10-6 Paul Hogan
Alan Norris 10-6 Michael Smith
Kim Huybrechts 10-9 Joe Cullen
Peter Wright 10-6 Rob Cross
Ian White 10-3 Martin Lukeman
Simon Whitlock 10-7 William O’Connor
Raymond van Barneveld 10-7 Alan Tabern
Daryl Gurney 10-5 Vincent van der Voort
Sunday March 5
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Draw & Order of Play
Kim Huybrechts v Alan Norris
Ian White v Gerwyn Price
Simon Whitlock v Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals draw made at the conclusion of the Quarter-Finals.
Evening Session (7pm)
Best of 21 legs
Best of 21 legs
Coral UK Open – Tournament Winner, sponor’s odds:
6/4 Peter Wright
7/2 Raymond van Barneveld
7/1 Simon Whitlock
9/1 Kim Huybrechts
12/1 Daryl Gurney, Alan Norris
14/1 Ian White
16/1 Gerwyn Price