The 2021 UK Open enters its business end in Milton Keynes on Saturday as the 32 remaining players vie to…
The 2021 UK Open enters its business end in Milton Keynes on Saturday as the 32 remaining players vie to reach the final day of action.
A frenetic opening day at the Marshall Arena saw 119 players depart the competition across the opening four rounds, with a number of big names among those to bow out.
A further double session on Day Two features the Fifth Round ties held across four stages in the afternoon before the Last 16 is held across two stages in the evening.
Michael van Gerwen navigated his way past former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell in a close-run contest on Friday and now faces another methodical thrower in Mensur Suljovic.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen is bidding to successfully defend this title for the second time and claim UK Open glory for the fourth time since 2015 as he vies to regain the world number one spot this year.
Suljovic, quarter-finalist in 2014 and 2015, began with a 10-6 victory over 17-year-old Polish sensation Sebastian Białecki and is out to climb back up the rankings after dropping out of the world’s top 16.
The Main Stage also sees world number one and World Champion Gerwyn Price taking on Kettering ace Ricky Evans.
Price has finished runner-up in this event on two occasions, most recently 12 months ago, and will be determined to add this prestigious trophy to ever-expanding haul of major silverware.
The Welshman cruised to a 10-5 victory over Peter Hudson in Round One and will be keen to improve on his match average of 94 when he faces the man responsible for knocking out Ian White on the outer boards.
James Wade, who last won this event a decade ago, resumes his quest for a third UK Open title with a show-down against 2019 runner-up Rob Cross.
Wade, twice a major finalist last season, held his nerve to edge out Ryan Joyce in a last-leg decider on Friday, while Cross came from 8-5 down to deny 2013 finalist Andy Hamilton 10-8.
Another mouth-watering contest sees Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa take on Michael Smith – the man he defeated 16-14 in an epic Quarter-Final en route to the title last November.
De Sousa produced a timely 103 checkout in the deciding leg to deny Mervyn King in Round Four and finds himself at this stage of the UK Open for the first time.
Smith, semi-finalist in 2019, also came through a last-leg thriller on Stage Two as he edged out Joe Cullen with a 101.5 average and a 170 checkout along the way.
Stage Two features a clash between two-time major semi-finalist Chris Dobey and rising star John Brown – the only player to have started out in Round One to be left standing in this year’s competition.
Brown, whose father Steve was timed out of the tournament after failing to show for his match, began by defeating Northern Ireland’s Gavin Carlin 6-3 with a 98 average before edging out Nathan Rafferty 6-5 and overcoming Chas Barstow 6-3.
He then knocked out former Lakeside finalist Mark McGeeney 10-6 to continue his superb run.
Reigning Masters champion and Super Series event winner Jonny Clayton comes up against World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode – who denied Gary Anderson in a dramatic deciding leg on the Main Stage.
Two-time major champion Daryl Gurney faces a tough test against German number one Gabriel Clemens, while former European Champion Simon Whitlock faces Lithuanian ace Darius Labanauskas.
Scottish star Alan Soutar, who knocked out Raymond van Barneveld in Round Two, aims to continue his memorable debut by overcoming Dutch left-hander Ron Meulenkamp on Stage Three.
Stage Four features a clash between Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski and Latvia’s Madars Razma, while Dave Chisnall – who knocked out Peter Wright in Round Four – faces former World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert – who saw off Glen Durrant last night.
The action gets underway from 12.30pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 19 legs.
The draw for the Last 16 will be made shortly after the conclusion of the previous round.
Ladbrokes UK Open 2021 Schedule
Saturday March 6
Afternoon Session (12.30pm-5pm)
Rob Cross v James Wade
Gerwyn Price v Ricky Evans
Michael Smith v Jose de Sousa
Michael van Gerwen v Mensur Suljovic
Darius Labanauskas v Simon Whitlock
Daryl Gurney v Gabriel Clemens
Chris Dobey v John Brown
Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Luke Humphries v Ryan Searle
Callan Rydz v Martin Kleermaker
Alan Soutar v Ron Meulenkamp
Luke Woodhouse v Brendan Dolan
Peter Jacques v Max Hopp
Scott Waites v Devon Petersen
Krzysztof Ratajski v Madars Razma
Dave Chisnall v Danny Noppert
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Main Stage & Stage Two