Robert Thornton triumphed in a sensational PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix battle with ten-time winner Phil Taylor at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel on Wednesday.
The pair both produced top quality performances in a classic dual, which saw Thornton prevail in a dramatic deciding leg.
‘The Thorn’ hit an incredible eight 180s on his way to a three sets to two triumph over the 15-time World Champion.
Both players averaged above 95, which is remarkably high in the unique double-start format, but it was Thornton who once again eliminated tournament favourite Taylor, who was punished for missing five match darts.
“Phil missed a few doubles but I never gave in,” said Thornton, who has now won 15 out of 16 matches in Dublin since Saturday, after reaching both finals of the weekend’s Pro Tour events, winning one.
“I’m playing really well at the moment and it’s all down to practice.
“I’m really focused and I have had great belief in myself since winning the UK Open.”
Thornton, who clinched his first PDC major title with his Bolton victory earlier this year, now faces Mervyn King in his quest for a second televised triumph.
King stormed past Dave Chisnall with an impressive display, in which he was particularly sharp on his starting doubles.
‘The King’ fired in four 180s on the way to a 3-1 success over Chisnall, to set up a last eight clash with Thornton, which will take place on Friday evening.
“It’s nice to be playing well again and I’m getting closer to my best game,” said King.
“I’ve been hitting my best in practice in the last few days, along with a couple of nine-darters.
“Robert has got back to his best during this year and maybe I’ll get there this week because it’s been a long while since I’ve been in a major quarter-final.”
Vincent van der Voort was unable to progress further than the last 16 stage, however, the Dutchman lost out to 2011 runner-up Brendan Dolan.
Thursday night sees the completion of the second round with Paul Nicholson taking on Colin Osborne and Michael van Gerwen facing two-time and reigning World Champion Adrian Lewis.
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC