NINE-DART HERO HUYBRECHTS STUNS VAN GERWEN AS CHISNALL ENDS BROWN'S CHALLENGE
KIM HUYBRECHTS hit a stunning nine-darter as he stormed past Michael van Gerwen to reach the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts semi-finals, after Dave Chisnall completed a remarkable fightback against Keegan Brown in Friday's other quarter-final.
Belgian star Huybrechts was already on course for victory against van Gerwen when a brilliant display against the World Champion put him 12-3 and 13-7 up.
He then kicked off the 21st leg with two 180s, before finishing 141 with treble 20, treble 19 and double 12 to complete his first televised nine-dart leg, and only the second in the eight-year history of the Grand Slam.
Huybrechts went on to complete a brilliant victory, ending with 12 maximums, five ton-plus checkouts and a 104.83 with the performance of his career as he won through to the semi-finals at the Wolves Civic.
"I'm absolutely buzzing - it's the best game of my life," said Huybrechts. "It has to be my best performance ever; a nine-darter and a win against the World Champion and world number one. Michael didn't take his chances and you never expect to be 12-3 up, and though he came back I managed to get there in the end. I was so nervous and I'd have settled for any win in the end. It's my birthday on Sunday and it would be brilliant to celebrate by winning the title, but I have to focus on the semi-finals first."
Van Gerwen had held throw to claim two of the opening three legs, but back-to-back 14-darters moved Huybrechts into a lead he would never relinquish.
The Belgian alo finished 126 in a run of five successive legs to move 6-2 up, and though van Gerwen hit back with a 122 checkout it was Huybrechts who pushed clear with six successive legs to lead 12-3.
The run included checkouts of 142 and 120 as he pushed his average above 110 at one stage, before van Gerwen won four successive legs to hit back to 12-7.
Huybrechts, though, halted the World Champion in his stride with a 108 checkout and his nine-darter, before landing another 180 on his way to a 15-7 advantage.
Van Gerwen won the next three, including a 114 finish as Huybrechts stuttered at the winning line, but the Belgian regained his composure to fire in a 12th 180 before double top sealed a memorable display.
Van Gerwen said: "It was Kim's night and he hit everything. Sometimes you walk into things like this and can't do anything against it - credit to Kim, he played well. I didn't play badly, but when I was 9-3 down I'd missed doubles in three or four legs and the scoreline could have been different. I tried my best and I was better than in the last couple of games, but it wasn't enough tonight."
Huybrechts will now take on Dave Chisnall on Sunday afternoon as the final day of the tournament kicks off, with the St Helens man producing the greatest fightback of his career in a 16-14 win over Keegan Brown.
Chisnall looked set to follow the lead of Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld in being stunned by the 22-year-old from the Isle of Wight when Brown took leads of 8-2 and 12-6.
Chisnall, though hit back to win seven legs in the next eight as he reduced the gap to 13-12, and levelled at 14-all before going on to claim a thrilling narrow victory.
The St Helens man landed 11 maximums in the contest and also took out a 170 finish as he moved through to Sunday afternoon's semi-finals.
"I don't know how I won that game," admitted Chisnall afterwards. "Keegan's such a good young player and he deserved to be as far ahead as he was. I really struggled with my scoring in the first part of the game, but I managed to start finding the treble 20 again and I got on a roll. My confidence is high at the moment and I'm feeling really good about my game, especially my finishing."
After Brown won the game's opening leg, Chisnall replied with a sensational 170 finish - but he was punished for missed doubles in three of the next four as Brown moved into a 5-1 lead.
The Isle of Wight youngster, who had earlier taken out a key 77 on the bull, then finished 130 to move five legs clear of a shell-shocked Chisnall.
The former World Grand Prix finalist stemmed the tide by taking out 68, and after Brown won the next two to lead 8-2 Chisnall took out 94 and 79 in a run of three legs in four to pull back to 9-5.
Brown, though, won three of the next four - despite a trio of maximums from Chisnall - as he moved into a 12-6 advantage and just four legs away from the semi-finals.
As Chisnall increased the pressure, Brown moved 13-8 up only to see Chisnall take out 102 and then land 180s in the next three legs to cut the gap to 13-12.
Three missed doubles to level the game, though, looked set to cost Chisnall as Brown edged into a 14-122 lead, but the World Youth Champion was left waiting on a double as Chisnall hit tops in the next.
Three misses from the youngster then allowed Chisnall to post double nine to level before tops put the world number eight ahead for the first time in the game.
Brown replied with a 180 as he looked to force a deciding 31st leg, but a missed bullseye gave Chisnall his chance as he stepped up to finish 100 to complete a remarkable fightback.
"I'm proud of what I've achieved this week and to be honest I'm more than happy to have reached the last eight," said Brown, who still works full-time as a medical laboratory assistant on the Isle of Wight. When I lost to Dave last weekend I didn't think I'd even get out of the group stage, let alone be in the quarter-finals, but Chizzy deserved the win in the end."