VAN GERWEN LANDS NINE-DARTER IN CORAL UK OPEN AS LYNN STUNS WORLD CHAMPION
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN created another slice of history with a nine-darter sandwiched between 170 checkouts as he defeated Rob Cross in the Coral UK Open fourth round, as Rileys Amateur Qualifier Barry Lynn stunned World Champion Gary Anderson.
During an incredible half-hour in the multi-board tournament at the Butlins Minehead Resort, in-form van Gerwen brought almost 5,000 fans to their feet by defeating Hastings amateur Cross 9-5 in an astonishing display.
Electrician Cross, who won three games on Friday to reach the last 32, took out 120 and 101 to give the world number one some nervous moments at 5-3, only for three legs of incredible quality to see van Gerwen pull clear.
Firstly, he followed a 177 score with a 170 finish to move 6-3 up before then scoring 180, 180 and 141 to complete a stunning perfect leg, the eighth in UK Open history.
Van Gerwen then opened the 11th leg with another 177 score before taking out a second 170 - matching his achievement against Ryan Harrington in round three - in a three-leg burst which helped him to seal a 9-5 win with a 107 average.
Van Gerwen is on course for a £10,000 nine-darter bonus, and more importantly remains on track to retain his UK Open title on Sunday night after moving into the last 16.
"Rob did really well and I think he played the performance of his life - but I think I played probably one of my best performances too with two 170 finishes and the nine-darter," said van Gerwen.
"I'm happy and I hope I can keep this going. I'm flying, full of confidence and when you're playing darts like this you've got a big belief in yourself - but I know I can show more than this."
World number two Anderson, the reigning World Champion and Premier League champion, crashed out in arguably the biggest upset in UK Open history as Essex-based amateur Barry Lynn followed up his trio of victories on Friday with a 9-3 defeat of the Scot.
Lynn stormed into an early 4-0 lead and also missed a dart to win leg five before Anderson hit back to 5-2, but the Braintree ace took the next three to pull away before completing a huge upset.
"It feels amazing," said Lynn. "Going 4-0 up probably didn't help me and I was a bit jittery, but I was always confident that I could grind out a result from being 4-1 up.
"If someone else can take out Michael van Gerwen, I'd be very grateful and very confident I could win this now - I've just taken out a two-time World Champion so I'm not afraid of anyone!"
Five-time UK Open champion Phil Taylor averaged 106 in a dominant 9-3 defeat of great rival Raymond van Barneveld as he continued his bid to win back the title.
"Raymond smashed me the last time we played and I was up for a fight this afternoon," said Taylor. "I got myself ready for a tough match and I'm happy to get through to the next round."
Taylor now takes on Vincent van der Voort, who raced to a 9-2 defeat of Andy Jenkins, while Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts dropped only three legs as he moved through to face van Gerwen in the last 16.
2014 UK Open champion Adrian Lewis overcame stiff opposition against John Henderson to take a 9-6 win, and he now faces Dutch star Jelle Klaasen, who came from behind to defeat Joe Murnan 9-8 in a tight contest.
Last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright enjoyed a 9-5 win over 2014 runner-up Terry Jenkins as he set up a clash with Norwich's Darren Webster, who survived missed match darts against Ricky Evans as he came from 4-1 down to win 9-8.
Joe Cullen and Stephen Bunting will meet in the last 16 following their 9-6 wins over Alan Norris and Jamie Caven respectively, while Dutchman Benito van de Pas' reward for a 9-3 defeat of Simon Whitlock is a clash with another Australian, Kyle Anderson, who won 9-2 against James Wilson.
Mensur Suljovic's bid to reach the quarter-finals for a third successive year continued with a narrow 9-8 win over Dutch youngster Ryan De Vreede, and he now plays Mark Webster following the Welsh left-hander's 9-4 defeat of Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Stuart Kellett will now take on amateur star Lynn after the Cheshire ace knocked out world number eight Michael SMith with a memorable 9-5 triumph.
Saturday evening's fifth round will be followed by the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon, before the £300,000 tournament concludes on Sunday evening with the semi-finals and final.
Van Gerwen is now the 1/2 odds-on favourite with title sponsors Coral to retain the title on Sunday evening, with Taylor the 5/1 second favourite, Lewis at 10/1 and Wright rated at 12/1 to claim his first major triumph.