UK Open 2019 Day Three preview and order of play: Final eight eyeing history

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 3 Mar 2019
Man of the moment Price celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2019 UK Open draws to an unmissable climax at Butlins Minehead on Sunday as the eight remaining hopefuls vie to become the new name on the trophy.

A pulsating weekend of darts has seen 159 players whittled down to just eight after 151 games held across eight stages in the most frenetic tournament on the PDC calendar.

The competition was blown wide open by a host of big-named casualties in the early rounds, now a new name is guaranteed to be etched onto the prestigious trophy.

Only one of the eight remaining hopefuls has ever featured in a UK Open final, while three players are appearing at this stage of a major televised event for the first time.

Gerwyn Price, who finished runner-up to Peter Wright here two years ago, steps up his quest to go one better when he faces surprise package Simon Stevenson.

Welsh star Price is enjoying undoubtedly the best spell of his career and is now joint favourite to add this title to his Grand Slam success last November.

He has stretched his unbeaten run to a staggering 19 matches in all competitions, having kicked on from last weekend's back-to-back ProTour triumph by producing a series of devastating displays this weekend.

The Premier League star has seen off Joe Cullen, Jamie Hughes and Krzysztof Ratajski en route to this stage, increasing his average as each round progresses, and will look to stamp his authority over home favourite Stevenson over the long format.

Plymouth's Stevenson has enjoyed a dream run to his first televised Quarter-Final, having started out in Round Two on Friday afternoon.

He followed up his victory over Adrian Gray with wins over former World Champions Mark Webster and Raymond van Barneveld, before knocking out Kim Huybrechts 10-6 and staging a remarkable recovery from 7-3 down to dispatch Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the Last 16.

The world number 68 is the lowest-ranked player left standing in the competition and is sure to receive vociferous backing from the Devon faithful.

The opening Quarter-Final tie sees world number two Rob Cross looking to end the ground-breaking run of emerging star Josh Payne.

Cross, who burst onto the scene as an amateur qualifier here in 2016, is appearing in his second successive UK Open Quarter-Final and is joint favourite to claim a second major title to add to last year's World Championship fairy-tale.

Cross has seen many of his rivals fall by the wayside but has remained on track himself with convincing wins over Darren Webster, Mervyn King and Cristo Reyes.

Payne, 25, finds himself in a first major Quarter-Final courtesy of a superb spell of form on the outer boards this weekend, with the former World Youth finalist notably thrashing Kyle Anderson 10-2 before overcoming Jamie Lewis and Simon Whitlock on Stage Two.

Nathan Aspinall has already proved his incredible run to the World Championship Semi-Finals was no flash in the pan by backing it up with a Quarter-Final berth at the first time of asking.

The Stockport star, now ranked inside the world's top 32, has shown both raw ability and tenacity this weekend to defeat Toni Alcinas 6-3, Christian Kist 10-9, Madars Razma 10-2 and Steve Lennon 10-8 - notably recovering from 7-3 down to deny the Irishman.

He now faces another player producing the best form of his career to date - world number 66 Ross Smith - appearing in his first televised Quarter-Final.

Smith, who quit the sport after falling out of love with the game a few years ago, is now back to his best and proving more than a match for the sport's elite, having put paid to the hopes of Dawson Murschell, Yordi Meeuwisse, Alan Norris, Steve West and two-time champion James Wade.

Another fascinating Quarter-Final sees world finalist Michael Smith continue his hunt for an elusive maiden major title with a show-down against evergreen veteran Steve Beaton.

Smith is already enjoying his best run to date in this competition and is continuing to play through the pain barrier after undergoing an emergency operation on his groin last week.

The world number six has brushed aside John Henderson, Daryl Gurney and Jermaine Wattimena en route to the latter stages and now aims to end the resurgent run of The Bronzed Adonis.

Fourteen years after his last appearance in a UK Open Quarter-Final, darting stalwart Beaton has underlined his longevity with a series of sublime displays to remain in the running for his first PDC major crown.

The 54-year-old dethroned reigning champion Gary Anderson in the Fourth Round and has followed that up with 10-8 wins over World Youth winners Keegan Brown and Dimitri van den Bergh on the outer stages.

The action gets underway from 12.45pm GMT, with Quarter-Finals contested over the best of 19 legs and Semi-Finals and Final best of 21.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2019 Schedule

Sunday March 3

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

Rob Cross v Josh Payne
Michael Smith v Steve Beaton
Simon Stevenson v Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall v Ross Smith

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Share this with your friends

Your comments:

UK Open 2019 Day Three preview and order of play: Final eight eyeing history

The 2019 UK Open draws to an unmissable climax at Butlins Minehead on Sunday as the eight remaining hopefuls vie to become the new name on the trophy.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages