- European Darts Championship
Edgy Taylor beats Hendricks
Phil Taylor survived a real scare before booking his place in the last eight of the PartyPoker.net European Championship with a 10-7 win over Jerry Hendricks, and he was later followed into the quarter-finals by Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld.
Taylor's form was patchy against Magnus Caris in the first round and it was a similar story against Hendricks, but he got over the line to the delight of his fans in Muelheim.
The opening four legs went with throw until Hendricks checked out a sensational 142 to break. Hendricks had two darts to move 5-2 ahead, but missed them both and Taylor clawed himself level at 5-5 at the interval.
The Power looked far more focused after the interval and ran through three legs on the spin to lead 9-6. Hendricks hit a brilliant 96 to save himself, but Taylor closed out the match one leg later to set up a meeting with Brendan Dolan.
Andy Hamilton held his nerve in a tight battle to edge out Ronnie Baxter 10-8. Baxter led 6-3 but Hamilton took out double eight to cut the gap and he moved ahead for the first time at 7-6 when Baxter missed darts at double six and double three.
Brendan Dolan won seven legs on the spin to beat Andree Welge. The Irishman was in trouble at 5-3 down, but Welgee missed a string of darts for the leg and he never recovered. "It didn't really happen for me early on and I took a while to find my feet but the second half of the game really went my way," Dolen said.
Wes Newton produced an impressive display to take out Kevin Painter 10-5. Painter made a strong start, hitting a 180 and moving into a 2-0 lead, but Newton kept chipping away and a run of six legs on the spin took him through.
In the evening session, Raymond van Barneveld continued to remain a big factor at this year's tournament after he beat Michael van Gerwen 10-9 in a wonderful game of darts. The former world champion came through a huge test against a man averaging over 105, winning nine of his 10 legs in 15 darts or under, closing out the match with a double eight.
"In this shape, with the darts set-up I have, I really believe I can beat any opponent but I'll have to be perfect and concentrate on my own game on Sunday," said Van Barneveld, who meets Kim Huybrechts next.
Belgium's emerging star Huybrechts reached the quarter-finals for a second successive year with a 10-5 win over Ian White, hitting checkouts of 164, 121, 108 and 101 in a strong performance.
"Reaching the quarter-final again was my aim but I'd like to go further," Huybrechts said. "Raymond's a great player and it will be lovely to play him. I believe I can do well for three games on Sunday, but I'll take each game at a time. I feel good and I'm really enjoying the tournament."
Australian Simon Whitlock maintained his challenge for a maiden major title with a 10-5 win over Dave Chisnall, coming from 3-1 down to win six successive legs in taking command. Whitlock ended the game having hit ten from 13 attempts at doubles in a clinical performance, and said: "I'm delighted with that and my finishing was superb, which is pleasing because I focus on my doubles in practice."
Whitlock now plays Colin Lloyd in the last eight, after the former World Matchplay champion punished Richie Burnett for 25 missed doubles in a 10-8 win, with the Welshman crucially off-target 20 times on tops during the contest.