Price and Michael Smith storm into UK Open Quarter-Finals as Ross Smith stuns Wade

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 3 Mar 2019
Ross Smith celebrates a famous win (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith continued their blistering form at the 2019 UK Open to storm into the Quarter-Finals at Butlins Minehead on Saturday, while Ross Smith and Simon Stevenson were among a clutch of shock victors.

Price, the 2017 runner-up, continued his quest to go one better as he dispatched Jamie Hughes and Krzysztof Ratajski to book his place in Sunday's Last Eight.

The recent back-to-back ProTour event winner averaged 104.5 average in a 10-3 demolition of Ratajski as he gained revenge on the Polish number one.

Ratajski dumped Price out of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead in November, but the 'Polish Eagle's' hopes of a repeat performance were dampened as the Welshman struck finishes of 145 and 117 in racing into a 5-0 lead.

From there, Price made it three ton-plus finishes for the match with a 144 as he powered his way to the finish line to extend his unbeaten run in all PDC competitions to 19 matches.

"I'm in a great run of form, I'm playing really well and if my scoring game is there on Sunday then I can go all the way," said Price, now the 9/4 joint favourite for the title with sponsors Ladbrokes.

"Even before the top boys went out I believed I could win. I'm full of confidence and playing some of the best darts of my life at the moment.

"I didn't think I played well yesterday but I thought I played really well in my game with Krzysztof and hopefully I can play like that again tomorrow and win it."

Price will face world number 68 Simon Stevenson in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals, with Stevenson the lowest-ranked player left standing after coming back from 8-4 down to overcome Dave Chisnall 10-9 in a thriller.

A confident Chisnall appeared to be cruising to a first UK Open quarter-final since 2012, but only for Stevenson to show incredible determination in an unlikely fightback.

Buoyed by vociferous local support, Plymouth's Stevenson fired in three consecutive ton-plus checkouts of 150, 104 and 128 to level it up at 8-8 and set up a grandstand finish.

The pair exchanged holds of throw to take the game to a deciding leg, and it was Stevenson who came on strong in the decider, sealing a memorable win with an 82 finish.

"It's incredible to be in the quarters," said Stevenson, who dumped out Belgian number one Kim Huybrechts in the afternoon session to follow up Friday's win over Raymond van Barneveld.

"I thought I was dead and buried but I hung in there and took my opportunities when they came.

"I was just trying to stay as calm as I possibly could but to win that one is truly unbelievable.

"The crowd really pushed me on, it’s been a fantastic atmosphere all weekend and I'm looking forward to tomorrow so much – who knows how far I can go."

Ross Smith ensured that there will be a guaranteed new name on the UK Open trophy by defeating two-time champion James Wade 10-7.

With Smith leading 4-3, the world number 66 accelerated away from Wade to go 8-4 up thanks to clinical double-hitting in a classy display.

2008 and 2011 winner Wade fought his way back within a leg to trail 8-7, landing a magnificent 127 finish on the bullseye to break throw on the way.

However, Smith held his nerve and fired in legs of 13 and 14 darts to book his place in the last eight of a televised PDC quarter-final for the first time.

"I had to be mentally strong to come through that game and now I see no reason why I can’t put my name on the trophy on Sunday night," said Smith, who earlier defeated Steve West 10-5 in the fifth round.

"I'm not here just to make up the numbers, I’m here to achieve something. The consistency is there, I’m feeling good and I just need a few more lucky breaks.

"I've got my love for the game back and now I’m enjoying it more than ever. My mindset is completely changed from a couple of years ago and I’m loving being up on the big stage."

Smith will now come up against Nathan Aspinall, who found himself 7-3 down to Steve Lennon but turned the game on its head to secure a 10-8 victory and secure his second televised Quarter-Final appearance.

Irish ace Lennon missed a dart to go 8-3 up and soon relinquished his control of the tie to World Championship semi-finalist Aspinall.

Aspinall, who defeated Latvia’s Madars Razma 10-2 earlier in the day, won seven of the last eight legs to come out on top of the battle between the two Premier League Contenders.

Steve Beaton made it through to the UK Open quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 thanks to victories over Keegan Brown and Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Beaton knocked out reigning champion Gary Anderson in Friday evening's Fourth Round and the evergreen 55-year-old followed it up with a 10-8 triumph over Brown.

The only UK Open ever-present left in the tournament, Beaton opened and finished his tie with two-time World Youth Champion Van den Bergh with 102 finishes on his way to a hard-fought 10-8 win.

Beaton will now play Michael Smith, who battled through the pain of a groin injury once again to edge out Daryl Gurney 10-9, before dispatching Jermaine Wattimena 10-3 in less than 20 minutes.

World Championship and Premier League runner-up Smith landed finishes of 156 and 112 on his way to a 6-0 lead, with Wattimena powerless to stop the St Helens man.

The last Dutch player left in the competition, Wattimena managed to avoid the whitewash but Smith powered through to his first UK Open quarter-final and continue his quest for a first televised ranking title, leaving himself the 9/4 joint favourite with Price.

Former World Champion Cross kept himself in the hunt for the £100,000 top prize with comfortable wins over Van Gerwen's conqueror Mervyn King and Spanish number one Cristo Reyes.

Cross' quarter-finals assignment will see him take on Josh Payne, who battled his way to impressive triumphs over Jamie Lewis and Simon Whitlock to reach his first televised quarter-final.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2019 Results

Saturday March 2

Afternoon Session 

Fifth Round - Main Stage, Stage Two & Stages Three-Four

Main Stage
James Wade 10-7 Max Hopp
Michael Smith 10-9 Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic 9-10 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mervyn King 5-10 Rob Cross

Stage Two
Madars Razma 2-10 Nathan Aspinall
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Gabriel Clemens
Jamie Lewis 7-10 Josh Payne
Jamie Hughes 7-10 Gerwyn Price

Stage Three
Steve Beaton 10-8 Keegan Brown
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-7 Jonny Clayton
Simon Stevenson 10-6 Kim Huybrechts
Jermaine Wattimena 10-8 Luke Woodhouse

Stage Four
Mickey Mansell 8-10 Steve Lennon
Dave Chisnall 10-5 Martin Schindler
Ross Smith 10-5 Steve West
Richard North 7-10 Cristo Reyes

Evening Session

Last 16

Main Stage
James Wade 7-10 Ross Smith
Krzysztof Ratajski 3-10 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 10-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Rob Cross 10-6 Cristo Reyes

Stage Two
Nathan Aspinall 10-8 Steve Lennon
Dave Chisnall 9-10 Simon Stevenson
Steve Beaton 10-8 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Simon Whitlock 7-10 Josh Payne

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Price and Michael Smith storm into UK Open Quarter-Finals as Ross Smith stuns Wade

Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith continued their blistering form at the 2019 UK Open to storm into the Quarter-Finals at Butlins Minehead on Saturday, while Ross Smith and Simon Stevenson were among a clutch of shock victors.

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