Phil Taylor raced into the semi-finals of the UK Open at the Reebok in his relentless pursuit of a 5th Bolton title.
Taylor beat Terry Jenkins 10-5, but disappointingly, it was the end of the Reebok road for Raymond van Barneveld, Wes Newton and Jamie Caven .
Taylor looked calm and composed as he won the all Unicorn quarter-final.
Jenkins didn’t do too much wrong, but didn’t really pressurise Taylor enough – especially in the early stages.
‘The Power’ had put his foot on the gas and was soon 7-2 in front....this included a brilliant 125 finish – bull, 25, bull – which had ‘The Bull’ rocking!
Jenkins did well to win three out of the next four legs, but Taylor hit 180s in the last two legs of the match to wrap up a comfortable win in the end.
Barney’s hopes of a third UK Open crown and first individual ‘Major’ TV title in five years were ended emphatically by Dave Chisnall.
The Dutch star never recovered from a poor start as Chisnall blitzed the Unicorn man, winning the first five legs of the match!
At that stage, Barney was averaging just 85 compared to 102 from his opponent and the only dart he had to win a leg was at the bull for a 170!
He briefly threatened a comeback as he won three straight legs after the break, but the pivotal moment in the quarter-final came in the 9th leg.
First Barneveld missed D19 for a 155 finish and Chisnall wired D12 for a 141....but the Dutchman then blew darts at D8 and D4 to bring it back to 5-4 and that was that.
Despite a 121 finish from Barney, he has left himself far too much to do against a player of Chisnall’s calibre and a 66 finish on ‘tops’ sealed the win.
It will be a hugely frustrated Barneveld making the journey back to Holland, because he was certainly in the mix to challenge for the title.
Newton will be kicking himself.
Put simply – he missed crucial doubles at key moments and Thornton didn’t.....The Unicorn man had enough chances to win.
Most of his misses were at his favourite D20 – he missed two darts for a double break of throw and a 4-1 lead and that set the tone, because Thornton took seven out of the last nine legs to move 8-5 in front.
‘The Warrior’ battled away despite blowing more darts at ‘tops’ and he hit two terrific 121 combination finishes – one on D14 and the other on the bull. He got it back to 9-8, only for the Scot to kick off the 18th leg with back-to-back 180s and that was that.
“You can’t miss the doubles that I did and expect to win,” admitted Newton. “Obviously I am disappointed because I had a really good feeling about this tournament.”
And it was missed doubles that cost Jamie Caven a first ever ‘Major’ TV semi-final.....he hit only six from 32 attempts in losing 10-6 to Denis Ovens.
For Ovens, who has ridden his luck over the last four days, it is a third consecutive UK Open semi-final.
Caven went 3-1 in front, including a terrific 131 finish....T 17 and two D20s but when he missed five darts for a double break of throw and 4-1 advantage, the writing was on the wall.
And so it proved to be.....Ovens took control and Caven won only three more legs. One of them was a great 10 darter, but he missed enough doubles to win three matches.
Ovens won four straight legs to take his place in the last four.
Wes Newton 8-10 Robert Thornton
Dave Chisnall 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor 10-5 Terry Jenkins
Denis Ovens 10-6 Jamie Caven
Semi-Finals (best of 19 legs):
Phil Taylor v Denis Ovens
Dave Chisnall v Robert Thornton
By STUART PYKE at the Speedy Services UK Open
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC