PDC World ChampionshipRAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD hit the first nine-darter in the history of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship in a sensational 5-1 quarter-final win over Jelle Klaasen.

The five-time World Champion had never beaten Klaasen in their previous televised contests, but won through to a semi-final against James Wade in style at Alexandra Palace.

His nine-darter was the peak of a brilliant display from the resurgent Dutchman, who averaged 106.68 and sealed victory with a 161 checkout.

“Winning the game means more to me than hitting the nine-darter, but it’s an unbelievable achievement,” said van Barneveld.

“I’m so proud to become the first player to hit a nine-darter in the PDC World Championship.”

In a night of contrasting displays at Alexandra Palace,

Wade struggled past Australian number one Paul Nicholson 5-3 with another under-par display.

Wade averaged only 82 in seeing off Nicholson, who battled back from 3-1 down to level before the Aldershot ace took six of the final seven legs to progress.

“I’m obviously pleased to get through but it was a poor performance, much below the standard I set myself,” said Wade.

“I don’t know what went wrong, because I felt fine before the game, but I’ve got 24 hours to put it right.”

The meeting between the number two and three seeds will come before 13-time World Champion Phil Taylor takes on Mervyn King in the other semi-final at Alexandra Palace.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship

Quarter-Finals

Mervyn King 5-2 Barrie Bates

Phil Taylor 5-0 Co Stompe

James Wade 5-3 Paul Nicholson

Raymond van Barneveld 5-1 Jelle Klaasen

Semi-Finals

Saturday 7pm

Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade

Phil Taylor v Mervyn King

JAMES WADE 5-3 PAUL NICHOLSON

(3-2, 3-2, 1-3, 3-2, 0-3, 0-3, 3-0, 3-1)

JAMES WADE reached his first ever Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship semi-final with a 5-3 victory over Paul Nicholson.

The world number three was again below-par, but edged a nervy affair to book his place in the last four on Saturday.

Wade saw a 3-1 lead slip away against newcomer Nicholson, but took six of the final seven legs in a strong finish to secure victory.

Nicholson, who had knocked out Dennis Priestley and Adrian Lewis in reaching the quarters – had his opportunities to win the three of the opening four sets, and those errors eventually proved costly.

The opening three legs of the match where held with throw, giving Wade a 2-1 advantage.

He then missed a dart for the set in the fourth leg, allowing Nicholson to level as he landed double top.

In the deciding leg both players missed opportunities to win the set, and it was Wade who landed double ten to take an early lead.

Nicholson hit his first maximum of the game to win the first leg of the second set, but he then missed three darts at doubles to break his opponent’s throw in the second leg and Wade managed to hold.

Wade missed two darts of his own to break throw in the third leg, allowing Nicholson to lead again.

But the world number three hit a two-dart 66 finish to level the set at 2-2.

In the deciding leg the British-born Australian suffered the same fate as the first, missing five darts for the set as Wade capitalised to double his lead.

Nicholson secured his first break of throw at the start of the third set, but Wade hit back immediately to win the second leg before missing six darts to win the third.

Nicholson went on to take the fourth leg, and the set, on double five before defying a maximum from Wade to lead in set four.

Wade hit a superb 135 finish to take the second leg, before Nicholson won the third, hitting his third maximum in the process.

The UK Open Champion then managed to hold throw in the fourth leg, and then won the decider after Nicholson missed five chances to win the set.

Nicholson won the first leg of the fifth set with a 60 finish, and then broke throw to lead 2-0 after missed a couple of darts to win it.

Nicholson then wrapped up the set in the third leg, before continuing the winning run of legs in the sixth set.

He broke with a 50 finish in the second leg to lead 2-0 after Wade was off-target with five attempts at doubles and then hit double 14 to square the match after extending his run to six successive legs.

Wade stopped the rot in the set seven, hitting back with three successive legs to move 4-3 up, landing a 65 finish to secure the first leg, hitting back-to-back maximums in the second and a 64 finish in the third.

Wade started the eighth set a fine 116 checkout, before landing double top in the second leg to go one leg away from victory.

Nicholson took the third to keep the match going, but Wade landed his seventh maximum in the next, which proved decisive when he landed double two for the win.

“I’m obviously pleased to get through but it was a poor performance, much below the standard I set myself,” said Wade.

“I don’t know what went wrong, because I felt fine before the game, but I’ve got 24 hours to put it right.”

Nicholson admitted: “Neither of us played to our best and it was one of those days.

“I felt great in my preparation but maybe a long game like that was too much of a step for me. I didn’t have much energy in the tank and maybe I was trying too hard.

“But I’ll learn from this. The longer format on the game stage was foreign for me but I can use this experience.

“I’ll kick myself when I wake up tomorrow but I’ll also look ahead and come back stronger.”

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 5-1 JELLE KLAASEN

(1-3, 3-0, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2, 3-2)

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD hit the first nine-darter in the history of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship in a sensational 5-1 quarter-final win over Jelle Klaasen.

The five-time World Champion had never beaten Klaasen in their previous televised contests, but won through to a semi-final against James Wade in style at Alexandra Palace.

His nine-darter was the peak of a brilliant display from the resurgent Dutchman, who averaged 106.68 and sealed victory with a 161 checkout.

“Winning the game means more to me than hitting the nine-darter, but it’s an unbelievable achievement,” said van Barneveld.

“I’m so proud to become the first player to hit a nine-darter in the PDC World Championship.”

Van Barneveld started the match well with a 14-dart finish, before Klaasen took three successive legs – including a 13-darter against the throw – to win the opening set.

Van Barneveld, who survived a nail-biting contest against Ronnie Baxter in the previous round, stormed back in the second set, taking it without reply.

A 112 checkout was followed by an 11-dart finish in the second leg before the world number two hit his fourth maximum in the next and went on to hit double five and square the game.

He continued in similar fashion in the third set, landing a 116 checkout in the first leg, a second successive 12-darter and then a 13-darter for the set and a 2-1 lead.

Klaasen ended the run of six successive legs from van Barneveld to take the fourth set’s opener with a 99 finish, and the players traded the next two before successive 11-darters from van Barneveld saw him surge to the set.

Both players held their throws at the beginning of the fifth set, before van Barneveld hit a 116 checkout to take the third leg.

Klaasen hit his fifth maximum of the game and followed that with a 64 finish to take the fourth leg, but a 96 finish for a 14-darter in the deciding leg pushed van Barneveld a set away from the match.

Klaasen kicked off the sixth set with a 107 checkout, only for van Barneveld to reply with a perfect leg, his third in PDC competition and second on television, matching his feat in the 2007 Premier League.

He followed up back-to-back 180s with a seventh treble 20, treble 19 and double 12, to earn him a £20,000 bonus should no other player landed nine-darter during the remainder of the event.

Klaasen took the third leg with ease, but van Barneveld regained his composure to land double 16 in the next and then took out a sensational 161 checkout to wrap up victory.

“It wasn’t going to be easy because Jelle has beaten me twice before on TV so I was very focused,” he added. “I had to look at it as just another game, not a revenge mission, and that’s what I did.

“After the first set I played absolutely brilliantly and now I’m dreaming I can go all the way.

“My worst opponent is myself. If I start believing in myself I can beat everyone, including Phil Taylor. Phil is a fantastic player but I’ve beaten him a couple of times.

“James Wade is a fantastic player too, and I have to be focused on my next match.”

Klaasen said: “I didn’t play a great game and twice in sets where I had the throw, in the fourth and sixth sets, I didn’t have a good deciding leg.

“Against me on stage it’s the best Raymond has played and the nine-dart finish was brilliant, and the 161 for the match. He was the better player.

“I’m a little bit disappointed now but very pleased to have reached the quarter-finals.”

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