Rob Cross, Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith into UK Open quarter-finals
Last Updated: 03/03/19 1:14pm
Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross and Michael Smith ensured the big guns fought back on day two at the UK Open but former champion James Wade joined the high-profile exits.
A thrilling opening day at Butlins resort in Minehead saw a host of darts top stars crash out with world no 1 Michael van Gerwen and defending champion Gary Anderson headlining the casualty list.
Saturday saw two more rounds of action as the 159-player field was reduced to just eight - and they include three of the world's top seven after Cross, Price and Smith chalked up back-to-back wins on the day.
But there will be a new name on the trophy as 2008 and 2011 winner Wade, who beat Max Hopp in the afternoon, lost to Ross Smith, who is enjoying his best ever run in a TV tournament.
"I had to be mentally strong to come through that game and now I see no reason why I can't put my name on the trophy on Sunday night," said Smith, who faces World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall in the last eight.
"I'm not here just to make up the numbers, I'm here to achieve something. The consistency is there, I'm feeling good and I just need a few more lucky breaks.
"I've got my love for the game back and now I'm enjoying it more than ever. My mindset is completely changed from a couple of years ago and I'm loving being up on the big stage."
UK Open - Quarter Final Draw
|Rob Cross||v||Josh Payne|
|Michael Smith||v||Steve Beaton|
|Simon Stevenson||v||Gerwyn Price|
|Nathan Aspinall||v||Ross Smith|
In-form Price looks to be the main to beat as he produced a pair of sensational displays to reach the last eight.
The Iceman produced a stunning 104.57 average in his 10-3 demolition of Krzysztof Ratajski to follow up an earlier 10-7 success over Jamie Hughes, who had been in spectacular form himself.
"I'm in a great run of form, I'm playing really well and if my scoring game is there on Sunday then I can go all the way," said Price
"Even before the top boys went out I believed I could win. I'm full of confidence and playing some of the best darts of my life at the moment.
Price will next face world number 68 and local favourite Simon Stevenson, who is the lowest ranked player left in the field after coming from 8-4 down to overcome Dave Chisnall in a last-leg thriller.
Devon man Stevenson entered at the second-round stage and had beaten Adrian Gray and Mark Webster before Friday night's win over Raymond van Barneveld was followed by victory over Kim Huybrechts.
Former world champion Cross kept himself in the hunt for the £100,000 top prize with comfortable wins over Van Gerwen's conqueror Mervyn King and Spanish No 1 Cristo Reyes.
Cross' quarter-finals assignment will see him take on Josh Payne, who battled his way to impressive triumphs over Jamie Lewis and Simon Whitlock to reach his first televised quarter-final.
Also through to the quarter-finals is UK Open ever-present Steve Beaton, who made it through to this stage for the first time since 2004 thanks to victories over Keegan Brown and Dimitri Van den Bergh after knocking out reigning champion Anderson.
Beaton will now play World Championship and Premier League runner-up Michael Smith, who battled through the pain of a groin injury once again to edge out Daryl Gurney 10-9, before dispatching Jermaine Wattimena 10-3 in less than 20 minutes to continue his best run at the tournament.
At the conclusion of the afternoon's quarter-finals, an open draw will be made live on the main stage for the semi-finals, which will take place on Sunday night.
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