In-form Michael van Gerwen and two-time UK Open champion James Wade stormed into the last 16 with comfortable wins on Saturday afternoon, while Scottish pair Robert Thornton and John Henderson also reached the fifth round in Bolton.
Wade swept past Dave Chisnall, winning 9-2 to keep alive his hopes of winning a third UK Open title.
But the 2008 and 2011 winner, who has won five games to reach the last 16, insisted he is not thinking that far ahead.
He said: “I’m looking forward to my next game, whoever it is against, and that is all I’m going to concentrate on at the moment.
“It’s not about this tournament or any individual tournament for me. It is all about getting things right for a good future in the modern era of darts.
“I’m happy with my results so far and if I step my performance levels up a little bit I can beat anyone.”
Wade will take on Henderson in the evening session for a place in Sunday’s quarter-finals after the Scotsman fought back from 8-6 down to defeat Kevin McDine in a deciding leg.
“It’s a massive win for me,” said Henderson.
“It was very tense at the end and we both missed darts for the match but I was over moon when the last one went in.
“I’m really enjoying this tournament and it is onwards an upwards for me now.”
van Gerwen will face Terry Jenkins in round five after the Dutchman saw off Northern Ireland’s Michael Mansell 9-3.
And the world number two is targeting an improved performance.
“I’m not too happy with how I played in the first two games,” said van Gerwen, who had beaten Mervyn King on Friday.
“I have to concentrate better tonight. Terry is a great player and hopefully that will bring out the best in me.”
Defending champion Robert Thornton won the last four legs to claim a 9-5 win over Kirk Shepherd.
The Premier League star, who will face Raymond van Barneveld on Saturday night admitted he had to work hard for the win.
Thornton said: “Kirk is one of those players who will throw a brilliant leg and then a bad leg so when he puts a run together you can be in trouble.
“I dug in and got the job done though. I played fairly well and I’m happy to be through.
“My game is there and so is my confidence and I’m actually playing better than I did when I won it last year.”
van Barneveld won his fourth round match comfortably, defeating Joey Palfreyman 9-3.
By Chris Murphy
James Wade will face Dave Chisnall in the fourth round of the Speedy Services UK Open on Saturday afternoon in Bolton.
The two-time champion will take on the world number nine in arguably the pick of matches from the last 32 draw.
2012 winner Robert Thornton will continue his title defence when he faces Kirk Shepherd at the Reebok Stadium, while bookies favourite Michael van Gerwen will meet Michael Mansell.
Raymond van Barneveld was drawn against Joey Palfreyman and John Henderson’s reward for defeating Scott Rand is a tie against Kevin McDine.
Former champions James Wade and Robert Thornton progressed to round four of the UK Open on Friday evening in Bolton, with Dutch duo Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld joining them in the last 32.
Wade survived a late fight-back from Jamie Caven to eventually win 9-7 after he had led 8-4.
The two-time champion averaged over 100 in what was already his fourth win of the tournament so far, taking out a 141 finish and 85 to seal the victory.
“I played okay,” said Wade, who won the title in 2008 and 2011.
“Jamie’s form has picked up recently and there had been a few people tipping him to do well but I felt confident that I would win.
“I’m still going and it doesn’t matter at all to me who I play in the next round. I’ll take each game as it comes.”
Defending champion Thornton also averaged over 100 in his 9-7 success over Matthew Edgar despite trailing 6-4 at one stage.
“I knew Matt was a good player,” said Thornton, the world number eleven.
“I didn’t find out I was playing him until this morning because I was asleep and I’ll be doing the same while the draw is on tonight.
“I can’t get a run as hard as last year and I won it then so I’m not bothered about who I get. This tournament is there for anybody to win and if it is me holding the trophy again on Sunday, I’ll be a very happy man.”
Bookies favourite van Gerwen hit six 180s in an impressive 9-5 victory against Mervyn King and immediately set his sights on the £40,000 first prize.
“I really want to win this,” said the Premier League Champion, who has already won ten PDC titles in 2013.
“I didn’t play my best but I won and that is they way it has been going for me recently. In a way it gives me even more confidence.
“I’m on a great run and I want to keep that up for as long as I can. It was tough to take on Mervyn first but that is the way this tournament is and I am happy to play whoever I come up against because you have to beat good players to win things.”
van Barneveld missed double twelve for a nine-dart finish in his thrilling match against Michael Smith, which the Dutchman edged 9-8.
Scotsman John Henderson reached the fourth round for the first time in his career with a 9-7 victory against Scott Rand.
Henderson, who had never previously defeated Rand, had trailed 4-1 and didn’t take the lead until leg 15 but went on to secure an impressive win.
“I’m over the moon with that,” admitted the 40-year-old. “It is a personal achievement for me and emotion took over when the winning double went in.
“I’m not one to celebrate but I couldn’t stop myself then. Scott is a great player and it was a fantastic win for me.
“I take a lot of inspiration from what Robert Thornton did hear last year. I’m not saying that I’m going to do that but I’m delighted tonight and it is a huge confidence boost.”
There was disappointment for Australian pair Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson, however. ‘The Wizard’ lost out to Wes Newton while ‘The Asset’ suffered defeat at the hands of John Bowles.
Andy Jenkins was beaten by Stephen Bunting, while Mark Webster was knocked out by Welsh World Cup team-mate Richie Burnett.
The draw for the fourth round will take place on the completion of Friday’s play.
By Chris Murphy
James Wade will meet Jamie Caven in the third round of the UK Open in Bolton after winning three matches on Thursday evening.
Wade, who has won the tournament twice, dropped just two legs in victories over Robbie Green, Matt Gallett and Wayne Jones to reach Friday’s last 64.
‘The Machine’ will face an in-form Caven, who recently won back-to-back Pro Tour events, while defending champion Robert Thornton will take on Matt Edgar.
Andy Jenkins’ reward for defeating Nigel Heydon 5-4 is a third round showdown with BDO number one Stephen Bunting, while John Henderson, who also took victory on Thursday, will face Scott Rand.
The draw threw up some tasty clashes between players who had both qualified straight through to the third round, including a repeat of the 2012 World Matchplay final between Michael van Gerwen and Mervyn King.
Australian ace Simon Whitlock is set to take on fellow Premier League star Wez Newton, while Mark Webster faces World Cup team-mate Richie Burnett.
Paul Nicholson was drawn against John Bowles and Raymond van Barneveld will take on reigning World Youth Champion Michael Smith.
The third round will take place on Friday with the victorious 32 players going into the draw for Saturday’s fourth round.
James Wade dropped just two legs in three matches on Thursday evening has he stormed through to the third round of the UK Open in Bolton, while Andy Jenkins and John Henderson also progressed.
Two-time champion Wade defeated former quarter-finalist Robbie Green 5-2 in a preliminary round tie before securing back-to-back whitewashes.
The 30-year-old swept past Matt Gallett 5-0 to reach the second round, where he saw off Wayne Jones by the same margin.
“It wasn’t as easy as it might look,” admitted Wade, who last won the title in 2011.
“I always believe I can win this but it can be a bit of a lottery on night’s like this so I’m glad I got the job done.”
Jenkins won through to the third round by defeating Nigel Heydon 5-4 and revealed his pride after the victory.
He said: “I love the game and I’m trying to get back to my best. It is hard and I have beaten a very good player tonight so it is a good step for me.”
Scotsman Henderson sealed his spot in round three with a 5-2 victory over Dave Place.
There was disappointment for former World Youth Champions James Hubbard and Arron Monk, however.
The pair both missed out at the second round stage after Hubbard had produced a strong showing in a 5-2 victory over John Scott to get there.
He was beaten 5-3 by Andy Smith, while Monk lost out to Gaz Cousins.
Dutch duo Vincent van der Voort and Co Stompe were both eliminated in round one.
Youngster Keegan Brown, who is sponsored by Simon Whitlock, performed brilliantly to reach round two.
He picked up wins against Keith Rooney and Shaun Griffiths but was denied a place in the hat for the third round draw by Joey Palfreyman.
Another promising youngster, Chris Aubrey, suffered a narrow defeat against Steve Farmer in the preliminary round.
The draw for the third round will be made at the end of Thursday’s play.
By Chris Murphy
Robert Thornton is preparing to defend the title that reignited his career twelve months ago, while 2008 and 2011 champion James Wade is chasing a trio of UK Open triumphs when the tournament dubbed ‘the FA Cup of darts’ gets underway on Thursday evening in Bolton.
Thornton provided the magic in 2012 as he ended 18 months of turmoil by clinching his first PDC major, despite entering the tournament as a 250-1 outsider.
The Scotsman had been recovering from a broken hand and a devastating bout of pneumonia before producing a string of fantastic performances to knock out a whole host of tournament favourites, culminating in a sensational final victory over Phil Taylor.
And Thornton, who has been in fantastic form ever since, admitted it was a special weekend for him.
“It is a time I will never forget,” said Thornton, who is now eleventh in the PDC Order of Merit and was selected for the 2013 Premier League.
“To have even been in that tournament after the previous 18 months was an achievement but to go and win it was a dream come true.
“It started up my career again and I’m looking forward to going back. I’ve got fabulous memories but more importantly, a title to defend.”
Thornton will begin his defence of the £40,000 first prize in Friday’s third round, having being amongst the top 32 qualifiers alongside Simon Whitlock, Michael van Gerwen, Paul Nicholson, Mark Webster and Raymond van Barneveld.
Wade is in action on Thursday after being drawn in a preliminary round clash against Robbie Green in the tournament’s curtain raiser.
Major titles have been elusive for the 30-year-old since his Bolton success in 2011 but ‘The Machine’ believes that the wait could be over.
He said: Winning it a couple of years ago is a great memory for me. I’ve been getting closer to my best over the last few months. I’m in a good place and I feel like it is a matter of when I start winning tournaments again, not if.
The PDC’s elite will compete in the inaugural Sydney Darts Masters in August, it has been announced today.
The Australian event is the second leg in the new World Series of Darts, which kicked off in Dubai last month.
The tournament will be held at Luna Park in Sydney from August 29-31.
The PDC’s top eight from the Order of Merit, including James Wade, Michael van Gerwen and Australia’s Simon Whitlock, will make up half of the 16-strong field for the three-day event.
Whitlock’s World Cup team-mate Paul Nicholson will also be on show along with the top three players from the DPA rankings, three home nation qualifiers and a qualifier from New Zealand.
Michael van Gerwen’s 2013 success story continued as he picked up his tenth PDC title of the year with a final victory over Mervyn King in the Austrian Darts Open on Sunday.
The Dutchman’s sensational form saw him win his fifth successive tournament as he scooped the £20,000 first prize in Wiener Neustadt.
FULL STORY AT MICHAELVANGERWEN.TV