World Grand Prix darts: James Wade and Robert Thornton both hit nine-darters
Last Updated: 09/10/14 1:41pm
James Wade progressed to the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix after beating Robert Thornton 3-2 in an incredible match in which both players hit nine-dart finishes.
Prior to Wednesday’s second round clash at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Brendan Dolan was the only player ever to hit a televised nine-darter from a double start.
But Wade and Thornton both added their names to that illustrious list within 30 minutes of one another in a pulsating contest.
Wade took the opening set and then nailed his perfect leg at the start of the second, following it up with a brilliant 156 checkout to take total control of the contest.
Thornton, however, refused to give in and reeled off three straight legs to take the second set and level the match at 1-1. The Scot then won the next set to edge into the lead.
The momentum was with Thornton and he seized it even further when he stunningly hit his own nine-dart finish in the second leg of the fourth set, but Wade hit back with a 146 finish.
Wade missed four darts to win the set and a deciding leg was needed, where Thornton missed four match darts and Wade escaped with the set.
In the decider Wade quickly assumed control by winning the first two legs and although Thornton managed to pull one back, the two-time champion hit double top to complete an unforgettable win.
"The first one here (Dolan's nine-darter in 2011) was hit against me. I'm a contagious disease of nine-darters," Wade told Sky Sports.
"I'm just glad to move on to the next game and play how I can. After playing a game like that, it doesn't get any harder."
Second round results
Painter 3-2 Lewis
Wade 3-2 Thornton
Taylor 3-1 Gilding
Anderson 3-1 Mansell
He added of Thornton, who went to his mother's funeral earlier in the day: "For him to do what he just did there - there is no man in darts that has got a bigger heart than Robert."
Wade will face Phil Taylor in the last eight after the 11-time champion progressed on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory against Andrew Gilding.
A major upset looked on the cards when Gilding made a superb start, taking the first set without dropping a leg.
‘Goldfinger’ continued to score heavily – hitting a total of eight 180s - but came up short in the crucial moments as Taylor won the second set in a deciding leg before the taking the third in easier fashion.
A whitewash followed in the fourth set as Taylor firmly put the memories of his shaky start to bed.
In the opening contest of the evening, double world champion Adrian Lewis was sent crashing out of the tournament after he was beaten 3-2 by Kevin Painter.
Lewis moved into a 2-0 lead at the start of the contest but Painter hit back with a whitewash in the third set before taking the next two on deciding legs to complete the comeback, with Lewis missing a match dart in the fourth set.
Painter will next face Gary Anderson, who clinched a 3-1 victory against Michael Mansell in the final contest on Wednesday night.
Like Taylor, Anderson got off to a sluggish start as he lost the opening set 3-1 but hit back to win the next three and book his place in the last eight.
"It really was a fantastic night of darts from start to finish," said Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle, "It started with Kevin Painter clawing it back against Adrian Lewis and then ends with Gary Anderson.
"But in the middle of that we've had the greatest match ever to have been on that stage. Two nine-darters; one from Wade and one from Thornton. And crammed in - a Phil Taylor win. What a night of darts!"
The record-breaking nine-dart displays was significant, says Mardle.
"We've only seen one in 16 years and now we've seen two in one night - that's how incredible it was. What a match.
"Full credit to all the players because they're just getting better and better at this format. There's going to be more special darts to be played in this tournament. But can it get better than this? No!"