- PDC World Championship
Brilliant Burnett sails past fifth seed Hamilton
Richie Burnett produced arguably his finest performance in recent years to send fifth seed Andy Hamilton crashing out of the PDC World Championship, following a 4-1 second round win at Alexandra Palace.
Hamilton inflicted the same scoreline on the Welshman at the same stage in last year's event, but Burnett gained sweet revenge with a devastating display of tungsten against the 2012 runner-up.
Taylor exit to spark next generation into life
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Burnett took the first set without reply, but Hamilton responded to level after finding his rhythm on the Ally Pally oche. The 'Prince of Wales' edged a tight third set, after back-to-back 180's in the deciding leg gave him a chance of a nine-dart finish.
However, despite missing treble 19 with his eighth dart, Burnett hit a crucial double six to close out the set and move ahead. Two 14-dart legs then saw the Cwmparc thrower take control and move within one set of the third round.
Under severe pressure, Hamilton broke early in the fourth and looked set to close the gap; however, Burnett looked unfazed as he took out another 14-darter and 80 finish to level and move within a leg of victory.
As the pressure mounted on Hamilton, successive maximum's aided a superb 13-dart finish for Burnett as he sealed a famous victory and a spot in the last 16.
"I didn't feel that great to be honest, so produce a display like that is a real bonus, against a great player like Andy," Burnett told PDC.tv. "I feel a lot more comfortable on the big stages again now I've been back in the game for the last three years.
"It still doesn't ease my nerves too much though. My whole body shakes before I go out on stage but I've managed to play really well in these first two games and I want to keep the standard high."
Burnett will now face Ian White after 'Diamond' survived what would have been an incredible comeback from Kim Huybrechts, beating the Belgian 4-3.
White raced into a three-set lead and looked ominous to whitewash his opponent, but 12th seed Huybrechts fought back to level the tie only to lose it in the last set.
White took the opening set without losing a leg, before edging the second in the decider and moving further clear with the third as his opponent struggled on his doubles.
However, the 'Hurricane' swept into action when almost checking out a maximum 170 and soon had his first set on the board. One became two as the momentum shifted Huybrechts' way, with a string of 14-dart legs to send the match into a decider.
Huybrechts took the first leg of the fifth to lead for the first time all night and almost moved within a leg of a famous victory when wiring 140 on double 16. However, White capitalised on the miss with two superbly solid legs to finally end the world number 12's hopes of world championship glory.
"He just came back at me and came back at me and we know how Kim can play," White told Sky Sports. "I just had to hang in and keep concentration and I got there in the end.
"I thought I nearly blew it. But you've just got to hang in and concentrate. I just buckled down and kept going and got over that finish line."
Premier League ace Robert Thornton averaged just shy of 100 and dropped only two legs in a 4-0 victory over surprise package Beau Anderson.
Thornton wrapped up the first set with ease as nerves appeared to affect his opponent, before the Scot took the second without reply. Thornton is the best player in the world when facing checkouts in the 100-130 range, and he proved as such when closing out a clinical 120 to claim the third set.
Despite clearly struggling on stage with illness, Thornton wasted no time in sealing victory. 'The Thorn' made brilliant 14-dart and 15-dart legs to move within a leg of the match, before finishing 81 on the bullseye for a place in the third round.
"I was sick before I came on to the stage and I just felt throughout the game," Thornton said. "To end the game with an average that high is pretty impressive. I've glad to got through in that fashion, under the circumstances. I need to go away now and try and get myself right before my third round game after Christmas.
"After Phil's [Taylor] loss last night, many people are saying that I'm one of the guys in with a great opportunity to get to the final from the top half of the draw. I'm not thinking like that as there so many high-quality players still involved in that section. You've got to fight all the way as it's not going to be handed to you on a plate."
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