Steve Beaton reached the Quarter-Finals of the World Matchplay for the first time since 2001 after an impressive 11-7 victory over Michael Smith, while Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson also advanced to the Last Eight at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on Wednesday.
After a surprising 10-6 win over Jelle Klaasen in the opening round, Beaton continued to roll back the years against the up-and-coming Smith – averaging just under 100 and registering a 65% checkout success in a high-quality contest.
The 52-year-old broke by taking out 87 and replied to Smith’s 156 checkout with a stunning 160 finish on his way to a 3-1 lead.
‘Bully Boy’ responded with a top checkout of 129 as he won the next three legs to move 4-3 in front, at which point both players had enjoyed 100% success on doubles, but the ‘Adonis’ took the next five to pull clear again at 8-4.
World number seven Smith reduced the deficit to just a single leg after Beaton missed bull for a 121 checkout, but the 1996 Lakeside King maintained his composure to prevail and set up a showdown with World Champion Gary Anderson, who enjoyed a comfortable 11-5 win over two-time Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins.
Anderson had lost 12 of his previous 13 meetings with Jenkins, but broke early in the third to take control of this encounter.
Despite averaging 103, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ could not pull away from ‘the Bull’, who stayed with the world number two to only trail 6-4 at the break.
However, the World Champion, who was beaten by Mensur Suljovic at this stage last year, ensured that history would not repeat itself, breaking twice more as he won five of the next six legs to remain on course for a maiden title in Blackpool.
Meanwhile, 15-times winner Taylor also enjoyed a fairly smooth passage to the Last Eight, as he overcame Suljovic by the same scoreline.
‘The Power’ had not conceded a leg in three previous meetings with the Austrian and raced into a 3-0 lead, only to be pegged back to 3-2 by ‘the Gentle’.
Nevertheless, Taylor, who narrowly scraped past Robbie Green in the opening round, found another gear and was averaging 106 at one stage as he crashed in a 116 on the way to an 8-3 advantage.
World number 17 Suljovic kept his fading hopes alive by taking out 103 and 104, but the clinical 55-year-old held his nerve to advance.
Taylor will play Mervyn King in the Quarter-Finals, after the world number 18 booked his place in the Last Eight at the Winter Gardens for the first time in seven years with an 11-8 victory over Brendan Dolan, who stunned Raymond van Barneveld in the opening round.
In the first meeting between the players for two years, King took out 110 and 100 but was pegged back to 8-8 by the ‘History Maker’ after missing five darts for 9-7.
However, the 2009 semi-finalist, who beat James Wade in Round One, was clinical in the next two legs as he pounced to move one away from victory after Dolan had narrowly missed ton-plus checkouts, before eventually sealing his Quarter-Final berth.
Wednesday July 20
Mervyn King 11-8 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 7-11 Steve Beaton
Phil Taylor 11-5 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 11-5 Terry Jenkins