PART ROLLS BACK THE YEARS IN CORAL UK OPEN AS WORLD CHAMPIONS COLLIDE
JOHN PART'S dream run at the Coral UK Open continued as he moved into the final day in Minehead, as fellow World Champions Gary Anderson and Rob Cross set up a tasty quarter-final tie.
The 350,000 pound tournament continued on Saturday with a double session of action at the Butlin's Minehead Resort, and it was Canadian star Part who rolled back the years to join some of the sport's newest stars in the last eight.
Part clinched hard-fought victories against Ron Meulenkamp and Mervyn King on Saturday to reach the quarter-finals of a televised singles tournament for the first time since the 2012 Grand Slam of Darts.
The three-time World Champion had edged out Meulenkamp in a tight fourth round game in the afternoon session before winning five of the last six legs to complete a 10-8 success against King, which included timely checkouts of 109, 112 and 118.
"Mervyn never really got on top of his doubles and I was able to punish him," said Part, who has now won five games since starting out in Friday's first round.
"I stole a few legs with big out-shots at great times and that's what got me through. I know I can come and play well tomorrow.
"It is challenging because I have been doing this regularly recently but I have been taking my chances and I intend to keep doing it.
"It wasn't my best game and maybe that was down to a bit of fatigue but that doesn't mean I can't find my best stuff on the final day."
Anderson and Cross, meanwhile, will meet in the quarter-finals after the pair produced fantastic displays to win their fifth round ties.
Anderson averaged 104.72 - the highest of the tournament so far - and hit nine 180s in his 10-6 success over Jermaine Wattimena as he reached the last eight for the first time since 2010.
"It's been going well so far," said Anderson, who also overcame Ricky Evans on Saturday. "This would be a nice tournament to win. It's been strange but I think it has suited me in a way.
"I like to get on with the game and I've had a couple of fast opponents so I've been able to do that. I'll just keep plugging way and if I win, I win."
Cross followed up his fourth round win over Kyle Anderson by easing through to the quarter-finals with a 10-3 defeat of Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski, averaging almost 104 in the process.
The reigning World Champion landed four 180s and a sublime 143 finish to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the event, having kick-started his career as a Rileys Amateur Qualifier just two years ago.
"I'm looking forward to the game against Gary, it's going to be a cracker," said Cross.
"You're going to play the best players in the world anyway so it doesn't matter when you draw them.
"I'm going have to score big and check out well, but I like it when I've got a test and it's better to be pushed.
"The UK Open was the platform for everything else - without this it wouldn't have been possible to do what I've done. It was a massive eye opener a couple of years ago and it's helped me develop and get better. It's a fantastic event."
Last year's runner-up Gerwyn Price won a thrilling fifth round contest against the last remaining Rileys Amateur Qualifier Paul Hogan, whose fine run again ended in the last 16.
Welsh ace Price fired in ten 180s and averaged 101.45 but was forced to a last leg decider by the tenacious 54-year-old, who had earlier defeated Jeffrey De Zwaan to reach the last 16 for the second consecutive year.
"Paul went 4-1 up but I was playing really well and I just knew that if I kept it up then I'd be able to come back at him," said Price, who also missed double 12 for a nine-darter, which would have earned him a £35,000 bonus.
"I needed a game like that to get me going and I knew that Paul would be a tough opponent so I'm pleased to get over the line.
"It pushed me hard but thankfully I had a little bit more in the tank and hopefully I can back it up tomorrow."
Price will meet Corey Cadby in the quarter-finals after the Australian ace defeated both Martin Schindler and Chris Dobey by 10-7 scorelines on Saturday.
"I can play a lot better than I have been but I'm winning and that's the main part of the game," said Cadby, who won the 2016 PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship in Minehead.
"I'm not here to muck around, I'm here to win it and that has been my attitude from the start."
The line-up was completed by three players who won through to their first televised PDC quarter-finals as David Pallett, Robert Owen and Steve West all progressed.
Pallett knocked out two-time UK Open champion James Wade in Saturday's afternoon session before enjoying a 10-7 triumph over Belgium's Kim Huybrechts.
He will now play West for a place in the semi-finals after the Essex thrower hit two 170 checkouts in defeating Matthew Edgar 10-7 before edging out Michael Smith in a last-leg decider.
Welshman Owen will face Part on Sunday after the Welshman survived missed match darts against Northern Irish teenager Nathan Rafferty before earning a 10-7 success over Ian White.