- PDC World Championship
Barney bows out as Wright & Smith play out a cracker
Mark Webster sensationally knocked five-time champion Raymond van Barneveld out of the PDC World Championship with a 4-3 victory at Alexandra Palace.
Webster produced a performance of sheer grit to grind out victory and set up a quarter-final tie with Michael van Gerwen or Gary Anderson. The opening two sets went the distance as both players remained even at one set apiece.
A classy 110 from van Barneveld sealed the third set but the Welshman responded immediately, hitting back-to-back 180's and following with a clinical 101 finish to level the match once more.
'Barney' moved ahead without reply in the fifth, sealing the set with another tonne-plus finish on 120. However, Webster found something out of nothing with three consecutive legs to send the second match of the evening into a deciding leg.
Double 11 provided the crucial break in the last for 'Spider' and he moved further ahead after van Barneveld narrowly missed 130 on the bull. However, with the Dutchman sat on 40 after 12 darts, Webster held his nerve to take out 68 and record an excellent win.
Peter Wright played out arguably the match of the tournament against world youth champion Michael Smith to advance to the quarter-finals.
Wright's average never dipped below 100 in what was a stunning battle on the Ally Pally stage, with 'Snakebite' edging the 23-year-old in a 4-3 epic.
A fine 165 set up Wright with a 24 finish to claim a tight, high-quality opening set, which he hit with his first dart. Smith - fresh from toppling tournament favourite Phil Taylor in the second round - hit back in the second with a clinical 118 to break, but Wright superbly checked out 161 on the bullseye to break back. Unfazed, Smith saw out the set to level the match.
Wright followed with another big finish, this time 136, to keep the pressure on but again the youngster fought back to land the third set. Maximum after maximum followed on the oche as a fourth consecutive set went to a deciding leg, with Wright converting 116 to make it two sets apiece.
Having well and truly announced himself as every bit the exciting stage player, Smith finished a fantastic 136 to stun his opponent and move within one set of the quarter-final. However Wright, using a set of Phil Taylor-shaped darts, did not crumble under the pressure and deservedly sent the match into a final set.
From there, the 16th seed showed quality and grit to seal victory in style and set up a last eight clash with Premier League ace Wes Newton.
What a game of Darts this is. Smith v Wright.— michael owen (@themichaelowen) December 27, 2013
Simon Whitlock produced a mesmerising performance to see off Kevin Painter in straight sets and book his quarter-final place.
The Australian needed only 37 minutes to beat his opponent 4-0, although a crucial 80 finish saw him clinch the opening set in a deciding leg. From there, though, it was one-way traffic as it simply did not happen on stage for 'The Artist'.
Whitlock dropped only two more legs over the remaining three sets to book a spot in the last eight, where he will now face Ian White.
"I was focused on getting a good start against Kevin and getting on top of him, which I managed to achieve", Whitlock said. "I've done nothing really spectacular yet, but I've been very solid and it's done the job for me so far.
"There are a number of great players left in the top half of the draw. I'm the only one who has reached a world final. I know how to do it and there's much more left in my locker."
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