MERVYN KING lit up the Rileys Darts Zones UK Open with a nine-darter in the fifth round on Saturday night – but was dumped from the tournament in a deciding leg by Gary Anderson.

King became only the second player, behind Phil Taylor, to achieve a nine-darter at the Reebok Stadium, hitting successive 180s and a 141 checkout in the 13th leg of his clash with the Scot.

The feat put him 7-6 up, and he also led 8-7 before Anderson forced a deciding leg and then landed double six to seal victory – the first time in the game he was ahead.

“The nine-darter was fanastic but it was only one leg and it didn’t win me the match,” said King, who had hit a nine-dart finish in the Virgin Atlantic South African Masters last September and received a £5,000 bonus.

“When I hit a nine-darter last year I went on to lose to James Wade and I knew I had to keep my focus this time, which I did. Gary was fantastic, though, and full credit to him for producing a great final leg.”

Anderson admitted: “I couldn’t believe the double six went in and I didn’t really expect to get a chance in the final leg because Mervyn had the throw, but I got the chance and had to hit it.”

Reigning champion Phil Taylor followed up his world record televised average of 118.66 in a whitewash of Kevin Painter in Saturday afternoon’s fourth round with a 9-6 win over Australian Simon Whitlock.

The Australian hit back from 4-0 down but missed chances to level when he trailed 4-3 and 7-6, and Taylor proved too strong to repeat his World Darts Championship final win over Whitlock to remain on course for a fourth UK Open win.

“Simon was great but I’m delighted to be in the quarter-finals,” said Taylor. “He never lets you relax and you’re always on your guard, but I got through it and I’ll have to pace myself on Sunday now if I’m going to keep the title.”

Taylor will face former protege Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals, with the 25-year-old overcoming Wayne Jones 9-4 to reach the last eight in Bolton for the first time.

Five other players are also appearing in the quarter-finals of the UK Open for the first time, with 2008 champion James Wade the only player other than Taylor with experience of the tournament’s climactic final day, which sees the players compete in three matches on the Reebok Stadium stage.

Wade was a comfortable 9-2 winner against Kevin McDine in the fifth round and now takes on Tony Ayres, the Sussex qualifier who defeated Alan Tabern 9-5 to reach his maiden televised quarter-final.

Denis Ovens brushed aside Andy Smith 9-1 to progress, and now meets Wes Newton, who defeated Leamington Spa-based undertaker Nigel Heydon 9-5.

Andy Hamilton’s reward for a brilliant comeback from 7-5 down to defeat Ronnie Baxter was a draw against Anderson in the last eight.

Tickets are still available for both sessions on Sunday, with the quarter-finals beginning at 1pm and the semi-finals and final being held from 7pm.

Tickets are available in person from the Reebok Stadium Box Office from 12pm-1.30pm and 6pm-7.30pm.

Rileys Darts Zones UK Open
Fifth Round

Andy Hamilton 9-7 Ronnie Baxter
James Wade 9-2 Kevin McDine
Phil Taylor 9-6 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson 9-8 Mervyn King (nine-dart finish from Mervyn King)
Adrian Lewis 9-4 Wayne Jones
Denis Ovens 9-1 Andy Smith
Tony Ayres 9-5 Alan Tabern
Wes Newton 9-5 Nigel Heydon

Quarter-Final Draw
1pm Sunday
Tony Ayres v James Wade
Gary Anderson v Andy Hamilton
Wes Newton v Denis Ovens
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis

7pm Sunday
Ayres/Wade v Anderson/Hamilton
Newton/Ovens v Taylor/Lewis
Followed by Final

Fifth Round Reports
First Set of Matches
Andy Hamilton battled back from 7-5 down to win 9-7 against Ronnie Baxter and book a first UK Open quarter-final spot. Hamilton landed a 180 in winning the game’s opening leg, but Baxter broke his throw in the third leg, taking cushions of 3-1 and 4-2. Hamilton levelled by winning the next two, but Baxter moved 7-5 up before a missed bullseye gave the Stoke-born star his chance. Hamilton took out double three before then finishing 104 in the next and then taking out double eight to lead for the first time since leg one, before sealing victory on double 18.
Denis Ovens joined Hamilton in qualifying for the last eight for the first time in Bolton with a 9-1 rout of Andy Smith. Smith took the opening leg against the darts, but failed to win another as the Hertfordshire star progressed.

Second Set of Matches
James Wade powered past Kevin McDine 9-2 to remain on course for a second UK Open title. Wade took out 122 in the opening leg and also won the next three before McDine finished 107 to get off the mark. Wade’s renewed accuracy on double top and double ten helped him win another four without reply, and though he missed three match darts in the tenth leg, which McDine won on double 19, the left-hander took the next to move into Sunday’s last eight.
Sussex’s Tony Ayres continued a dream run in the Rileys Darts Zones UK Open, knocking out Alan Tabern 9-5. Tabern held an early 3-2 lead but Ayres edged 6-4 up before crucially taking out 154 to break throw and 100 to lead 8-4, and though the left-hander took the 13th leg it was Ayres who progressed to reach his first televised quarter-final.

Third Set of Matches
Phil Taylor battled into the quarter-finals with a 9-6 defeat of Simon Whitlock following a gritty battle. Taylor followed up his fourth round world record average of 118.66 with a 105 average in seeing off the Australia, who played his part by coming back from 4-0 down to give Taylor some nervous moments. Taylor kicked off the game with a 180 and produced two more maximums in taking the first four legs without reply, but Whitlock included a 90 finish in taking three in a row to reduce the gap to one. He missed one dart to level as Taylor took the eighth on double eight, which was followed by a double top finish as he moved 6-3 up. Whitlock hit 180s in winning the next two and also reduced the gap to 7-6, but again saw the chance to level escape him, missing one dart at double 15 for a 90 finish. Taylor hit double top, and then finished 101 in the next to seal the win.
Wes Newton became the latest first-time quarter-finalist in the Rileys Darts ! Zones UK Open, overcoming Nigel Heydon 9-5 to reach the last eight. Newton took command early on by leading 3-1, and also le 5-2 and 8-3 before the undertaker from Leamington Spa hit back. Heydon, in his debut UK Open, won the next two legs to threaten a comeback before the Fleetwood ace took the 14th leg to seal a last eight berth, having gone out at this stage for the past two years.

Fourth Set of Matches
Mervyn King hit a nine-darter finish but still lost his game with Gary Anderson, going down 9-8 in a thriller! King threatened a nine-darter in the game’s opening leg, hitting back-to-back 180s to open the game before taking the first leg in 11 darts, and he also led 3-0 before Anderson, aided by a brilliant 160, hit back to level. King landed a 108 finish as the pair traded legs like prize boxers slugging it out, before the Norfolk-based star produced a moment of magic in leg 13, hitting back-to-back 180s and taking out 141 on double 12 for a sensational nine-dart finish, becoming the second player, behind Phil Taylor, to achieve the feat in Bolton. Anderson took the next leg to level again, before King hit an eighth 180 in moving 8-7 up. The Scot, though, won the 16th leg with the aid of a maximum, before posting double six to seal victory – the winning dart being the only time in the match he led.
Adrian Lewis joined Stoke duo Phil Taylor an! d Andy Hamilton in the last eight with a 9-4 win over Wayne Jones. Lewis pulled clear from one-all to lead 5-1 and 6-3. Jones did his best to stay in the game by sharing the next two, but finishes of 110 and 100 saw Lewis progress.

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