Michael van Gerwen won his fourth successive UK Open Qualifier, after surviving TEN match darts against his arch-nemesis Jelle Klaasen in today’s final. Klaasen led 5-2, but simply could not close out the match, missing eight darts to secure victory in leg 10.
Van Gerwen beat Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen, Kim Huybrechts and Mark Webster en route to the quarter-finals, but admittedly rode his luck. He trailed 3-0 against Joe Cullen before coming back to win 6-4, whilst he squeezed past Huybrechts and Webster to set up a quarter-final against Michael Smith.
That was a high-quality contest. Both men averaged in excess of 102; however Smith spurned two darts at D20 to inflict defeat on the Dutchman. He eased to a 6-2 victory over Andrew Gilding in the semi-finals, before edging past Klaasen in a dramatic finale. This continues van Gerwen’s incredible run of form; he has won 39/40 matches since losing to Gary Anderson in the World Championship semi-finals.
Klaasen will inevitably be bitterly disappointed; victory over his compatriot would have ensured the Cobra’s automatic inclusion in all major tournaments for the 2015 season. Despite this, there were numerous positives to take for Klaasen. The 30-year-old former Lakeside Champion recorded fine wins over Alan Norris, Terry Jenkins, Jamie Caven, before recording a comprehensive 6-2 win over Phil Taylor with a sumptuous display of finishing.
Gilding with the ‘Golden’ touch!
Elsewhere, Andrew Gilding produced some phenomenal darts in reaching the semi-finals, to secure qualification for the UK Open in Minehead. Gilding beat Rowby-John Rodriguez in R1, before beating 5-times World Champion Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 in the second round. However, Goldfinger’s performance against Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals was simply stunning.
Gilding romped to a 6-2 win over Jackpot, hitting 8 140s and 7 maximums in just eight legs. Gilding’s first 9 dart average over the contest was an astonishing 390.63. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. It really was that good!
The challenge for Gilding now is replicating similar performances on the main stage; he suffered a humbling 10-0 defeat to Lewis at the World Matchplay last July, whilst he also suffered a 3-0 defeat to Robert Thornton at the recent World Championships. Nevertheless, he will be confident of making a significant impact at Minehead next March.
Alan Tabern and Steve Hine, two lesser names to the more casual darts fan, reached the last 16 stage; before they were emphatically beaten by Gary Anderson and Jamie Caven respectively, but they’ve virtually guaranteed their place at the UK Open. Both men are likeable figures and hopefully they can begin to establish some confidence and consistency, because it’s fair to say they’ve been in the darting wilderness over the last few years.
Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson and Terry Jenkins also had profitable afternoons in Wigan. Taylor and Anderson had been absent from the qualifiers a fortnight ago, whilst Jenkins had suffered three first-round exits, therefore it was essential for the trio to perform well at some stage of the weekend; their qualification is now assured and their sole focus will now be ensuring that they qualify in the top 32 of the UK Open Order of Merit, so they can enter the competition at the latest possible stage.
Newton & Part in trouble;
Despite this, there are still some high-profile names in trouble. John Part suffered a 6-3 loss to Joe Murnan in the L64 today; the Canadian is in major danger of missing out. Wes Newton suffered a 6-4 loss to Gino Vos in the L128 today; Newton has only managed to amass a miserly £250 from the four events so far; two more first-round exits for the Warrior may see him miss out on qualification.
Simon Whitlock’s patchy form continues; he suffered a second-round exit to Steve Hine. The Australian has probably done enough to qualify, but he won’t want to enter in the early rounds; he is desperately lacking in form and confidence, after suffering seven consecutive first-round exits on television. In the early rounds over such a short format; shock exits are not beyond the realms of possibility, so he’ll be keen to have a deep run at some point over the weekend.
To see the full set of results from today, click on the following link. http://www.pdc.tv/news/article/1p5q3i3pecaec1cxvg16ss54uf/title/coral-uk-open-qualifier-four-updates
I’ve also published the updated UK Open order of merit here, where you can find out which players have already secured automatic qualification, and which are in serious danger of missing the cut. https://joshsdartistry.wordpress.com/uk-open-order-of-merit/