PHIL TAYLOR continued his pursuit of a 17th William Hill World Darts Championship with a 4-0 win over Keegan Brown to set up a huge quarter-final showdown with Gary Anderson at Alexandra Palace.

Legendary star Taylor rolled back the years at times during his 133rd World Championship match, especially with some big finishes at key moments as the occasion initially got the better of Brown.

Taylor is looking to end his career with what would be an incredible 17th World Championship title, and seeing an improvement in form against Brown has the 57-year-old - who has only lost 15 legs in the tournament so far - growing in confidence. 

"I am starting to believe I can win," said Taylor. "It's weird. I said today that I think I can actually have a go at this; whether I can or not, I don't know, but I feel like I can.

"If my confidence is up and I can play properly then I think I can give them a game. I can win it. 

"I'm going to go out with a big smile on my face, and if I start losing the crowd will get on my side and if I start winning the crowd will get on my side, so I'm going to enjoy the next game."

Two-time World Champion Anderson came through a tough battle with Steve West 4-2, with the Scot's missed match darts allowing his stubborn opponent to extending the match to a sixth set.

Anderson averaged 95 and at one stage looked to be struggling with a back injury before he eventually put West away to secure another mouth-watering contest on quarter-final day in a repeat of the classic 2015 final.

A day at Alexandra Palace usually comes with an upset and Thursday saw the turn of fifth seed Mensur Suljovic, who was on the wrong end of a 4-0 thumping by World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The Champions League winner was never in the contest as the 23-year-old Belgian took control from the start and showed a maturity beyond his years to make the last eight.

"Winning 4-0 against the number five in the world, a 23-year-old dreams of things like that," said Van den Bergh, who has no intention of resting on his previous goal of reaching the last eight.

"That was my goal, and it's fantastic that I've got to the quarter-finals, but I'm not finished yet.

"Even though I'm playing in the quarter-finals, I'm capable. I believe and I'm a dream maker so who knows, my dreams might be coming true this time."

Next up for Van den Bergh is new darting sensation Rob Cross, who was watching the tournament at home last year waiting to turn professional but is now amongst the title favourites on his Alexandra Palace debut.

Cross overcame a sticky patch to produce some more heavy scoring that proved too much for John Henderson as the Hastings man progressed 4-1 to move his focus on to Van den Bergh.

"He's another fantastic player and I won't be able to take anything for granted," said Cross. "But as long as I come out and do my bit and I'm myself with no switching off, it's all good."

Jamie Lewis continued his fairy-tale run as he's now gone from qualifier to quarter-finalist after a 4-1 win over James Richardson in what was his 11th match in the tournament all told.

Understandably, Lewis could not reach the stratospheric heights of Wednesday's performance against Peter Wright, but after a sticky start he produced some superb darts - including a 170 finish - to dominate Richardson.

"I'm so chuffed to get through that game," said Lewis, who now meets Darren Webster. "It was a bit of a tough one because we both probably didn't play as well as we could.

"I didn't really play like I did yesterday but I'm so happy to just get through it."

Webster lived up to his "Demolition Man" nickname as he did overcame Toni Alcinas with a convincing 4-0 victory to return to the quarter-finals after an 11-year absence.

"I'm really pleased with my performance," said diminutive Norwich thrower Webster. "I'm chuffed with that.

"I've got no taller but I'm rolling back the years, what I lack in height I make up for in heart and passion."

Friday's other quarter-final sees Dutch rivals Michael van Gerwen, the reigning World Champion, and five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld clash as the pair bid to win through to the last four.

William Hill World Darts Championship
Thursday December 28
Afternoon Session

Toni Alcinas 0-4 Darren Webster
Mensur Suljovic 0-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
John Henderson 1-4 Rob Cross

Evening Session
Jamie Lewis 4-1 James Richardson
Phil Taylor 4-0 Keegan Brown
Gary Anderson 4-2 Steve West

Quarter-Finals
Friday December 29
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Jamie Lewis v Darren Webster
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Rob Cross

Evening Session (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson

Draw Bracket Order
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Rob Cross
Jamie Lewis v Darren Webster
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson

Quarter-Finals - Best of nine sets

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MATCH REPORTS
Darren Webster (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
Toni Alcinas 0-4 Darren Webster

(1-3, 1-3, 2-3, 0-3)
DARREN WEBSTER returned to the William Hill World Darts Championship quarter-finals for the first time 11 years with a clinical 4-0 victory over Toni Alcinas.

Webster averaged 94.92, hit three 180s and took out 50 percent of his doubles as Alcinas was always struggling to keep pace, grabbing just four legs in a one-sided contest.

The Norwich thrower lived up to his "Demolition Man" nickname as he was ruthless when stepping in as Alcinas missed the few chances he was presented with, with Webster making the most of his extra experience on the big stage.

Webster kicked off with a 15-darter to get the match underway, and after Alcinas levelled it was the 2007 quarter-finalist who punched in a 148 checkout to go in front before clinching the set with a break of throw.

A 14-darter did the damage in the second set with a 72 finish grabbing another break, before Webster then took out 75 for the set to double his lead.

Alcinas raised his game in the third when hitting two 180s in an 11-dart opener before then going 2-0 up, only for Webster drag it back to 2-2 before a 180 in the deciding leg put him in total command.

That proved the breaking point for Alcinas, and Webster took the next three to make it six legs on the spin to power into the last eight for the first time since 2007.

"It doesn't matter who you play, you've got to go up there and play the board," said Webster. "I'm really pleased with my performance. 

"I'm chuffed with that. I've got no taller but I'm rolling back the years, what I lack in height I make up for in heart and passion."

Webster faces Jamie Lewis or James Richardson in a wide open section of the draw, but insists that he is not looking at his next opponent.

"In the next round it's irrelevant who I'm playing; people are saying you're the only seed left but is that good or bad? All the seeds around me have dropped out, so I cant think about that.

"I've got one mission and that's to get up there on that board and do my job and that's what I'm trying to do. 

"I'm just going to chill out and get ready for tomorrow for whoever - I don't care, bring them on!"

Dimitri Van den Bergh (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
Mensur Suljovic 0-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh

(1-3, 1-3, 2-3, 1-3)
DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH kept up the surprising nature of this year's William Hill World Darts Championship as he dominated fifth seed Mensur Suljovic 4-0 in their last 16 meeting.

The World Youth Champion showed nerves of steel as he powered into the quarter-finals at the Alexandra Palace with a 96.6 average and six 180s as he punished a below-par performance from the Austrian.

World number 43 Van den Bergh was a much more solid scorer throughout, and with Suljovic missing a few golden chances the young Belgian punished his rival almost every time.

Suljovic hit a 14-darter in the opening set but that was his only leg as Van den Bergh took out a 120 checkout along the way, which he followed with a 13-darter when dominating the second.

Suljovic made a better go of things in the critical third by going 2-1 ahead, but he missed crucial darts in the fourth and Van den Bergh showed confidence beyond his years to level and win the decider.

Nerves at being so close to victory did not seem to bother the 23-year-old as he hit two 180s in the opening leg of set four before taking out 115 to move to the brink, and he wasted little time in completing a fantastic victory.

"It's unbelievable," said Van den Bergh. "I know the qualities of Mensur and normally he's a player that checks out every finish that he gets a chance to, and this game was totally different.

"Every chance he got he missed them - three darts, two darts, one dart. But every shot I got I seemed to check out. 

"Winning 4-0 against the number five in the world, a 23-year-old dreams of things like that."

After stating his goal was to reach the quarter-finals, Van den Bergh is now aiming even higher as he faces Rob Cross in the last eight.

"That was my goal, and it's fantastic that I've got to the quarter-finals, but I'm not finished yet," he added.

"Even though I'm playing in the quarter-finals, I'm capable, I believe and I'm a dream maker so who knows my dreams might be coming true this time.

"I'm enjoying every moment, winning this game feels weird on the one side but feels amazing on the other."

Rob Cross (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
John Henderson 1-4 Rob Cross

(1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 1-3, 0-3)
ROB CROSS continued his strong William Hill World Darts Championship debut as he booked a place in the quarter-finals with a 4-1 win over John Henderson.

The 27-year-old from Hastings may be in his first World Championship but he is playing like a tournament favourite and showed his resolve by coming through a sticky patch against the Scot.

Cross came flying out of the traps to lead 2-0 but then suffered a slump as Henderson's persistent quality checkouts saw him drag himself back into the contest.

Four-time ranking event winner Cross, who finished with a 99 average and seven 180s, regained his momentum in the fourth set and from there raced away to victory.

It was fast start by Cross as he averaged 111 in the opening set courtesy of legs of 11 and 14 darts, forcing Henderson to take out 83 just to get a leg on the board.

Henderson took out 109 and 101 in the second set but Cross showed what he is made of with a crucial 180 forcing his rival into a mistake which he capitalised on to seal the set.

Henderson was playing well though, and added further huge finishes to finally win a set with a 136 and 125 doing the damage as he took the third with a 3-1 scoreline.

Again, Henderson pushed Cross in the fourth set, but the 20th seed pulled out a 102 finish to nose 2-1 in front when the Scot looked favourite, and from there Cross took the set to move 3-1 up.

That proved to be the end of Henderson's challenge, as Cross stepped it up in the fifth set with three straight legs, finishing off in style with a ten-darter.

"John played very well and his hundred-plus finishing with every shot he got at a double was superb," said Cross. 

"I actually lost concentration in that game, I felt I was lazy in the middle parts and could have done more but I'm happy to get through.

"In the last set I was focused and better but going forward you need to push in every set if you're going to win and I'm not quite doing that yet."

Cross now faces World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last eight as he gets his head around making such good progress on his first visit to Alexandra Palace.

"It's weird, I've never played in front of fantastic people like this so it's a little bit different, but I'll deal with that and keep moving forward," added Cross, the former electrician who turned professional in January.

"Dimitri is another fantastic player and I won't be able to take anything for granted. But as long as I come out and do my bit and I'm myself with no switching off, it's all good."

Jamie Lewis (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
Jamie Lewis 4-1 James Richardson

(2-3, 3-2, 3-0, 3-2, 3-1)
JAMIE LEWIS' fairy-tale run at the William Hill World Darts Championship continued as he booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 4-1 win over James Richardson.

The young Welshman has played 11 matches now in the tournament, having come through the PDPA Qualifier before seeing off Kenny Neyens, Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright, and added another win on Thursday.

Lewis did not reach the stratospheric heights of that performance against Wright, but after a sticky start did produce some super darts as he finished with a 96.95 average with five 180s and a maximum 170 checkout.

The 26-year-old started slowly as Richardson won the first set on his own throw, and after the pair traded breaks in the second Lewis this time emerged with the win in the decider.

Lewis started to find some of the form that knocked Wright with a 170 finish in set three, alongside his first 180s and a 99 outshot which featured two double tops.

Although Lewis wasn't sticking in 180s for fun as against Wright, his 140 scoring was continually leaving Richardson behind as he added 12 and ten-dart legs to clinch the fourth set.

Back-to-back checkouts of 66 put him ahead in the fifth set and a pair of 180s helped him to the finish line and a dream victory that put him into the last eight.

"I'm so chuffed to get through that game," said Lewis, who plays Darren Webster for a place in the semi-finals. "It was a bit of a tough one because we both probably didn't play as well as we could.

"I didn't really play like I did yesterday but I'm so happy to just get through it.

"I felt a little bit more comfortable as the game went on. I just didn't feel 100 percent but luckily I got there in the end and started playing the darts I know I can play near the end of the game."

Phil Taylor (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
Phil Taylor 4-0 Keegan Brown

(3-1, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2)
PHIL TAYLOR'S retirement party at the William Hill World Darts Championship was extended in style as he showed flashes of his old brilliance during a 4-0 win over Keegan Brown in their last 16 meeting.

Retiring legend Taylor grabbed an incredible 121st World Championship victory as he continued his search for a 17th title to bring the curtain down on his amazing career.

Significantly, Taylor looked settled on the stage and was averaging almost 110 for much of the contest before finishing on 101.28 for his 54th three-figured average in World Championship matches.

It was classic Taylor in the opening set as he hit two 180s, and 11-darter and outshots of 82 and 86 with some flawless doubling whilst only allowing Brown to grab one leg.

Taylor swept the second set, which included a sparkling 122 finish in what looked like a vintage performance.

After six legs in a row for Taylor, Brown finally found some form and managed to drag the third set back to two-all, only to miss a dart for the set as he allowed the 57-year-old to nail a killer 99 checkout which featured two double tops.

Taylor kicked off set four with a with a 92 checkout followed by a 100 combination, but Brown showed great tenacity to stick in there and take out 124 and 66 to force a decider.

In typical style, though, Taylor pulled out a 106 finish to complete the win and cruise into the last eight.

"I felt comfortable up there," said Taylor, who has only dropped 15 legs in the tournament so far. "The only thing I thought was to put Keegan under pressure as it was probably the biggest occasion of his life. 

"He looked like he started to enjoy the pressure though so even at 3-0 up I was thinking that he could still come back.

"I think the pressure's off me now and I can enjoy it. I am starting to believe I can win.

"It's weird. I said today that I think I can actually have a go at this; whether I can or not, I don't know, but I feel like I can.

"If my confidence is up and I can play properly then I think I can give them a game."

Gary Anderson (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)
Gary Anderson 4-2 Steve West

(3-2, 1-3, 3-1, 3-2, 2-3, 3-2)
GARY ANDERSON set up a huge William Hill World Darts Championship quarter-final showdown with Phil Taylor after battling past stubborn Steve West with a 4-2 victory in the last 16.

Two-time World Champion Anderson was matched dart-for-dart by West - who averaged three points less but hit the same number of 180s (seven), took out a 170 finish and won just one fewer legs.

Anderson was mostly in front, but just could not kill off the Essex man as West punished some late missed doubles to extend his hopes almost into a deciding seventh set.

Anderson claimed the first set thanks to a brilliant 104 checkout in the deciding fifth leg, but West's response was emphatic with three straight legs capped off by a 13-darter pulling him level in he second.

It was Anderson's turn to dominate in the third as he claimed a comfortable 3-1 set before an eventful fourth saw West hit three 180s and take out 170 but still lose the set after missing one dart to level.

Again the set went the distance in the fifth, with some real drama in the decider as both players missed two doubles before West returned to hit double five with his last dart to extend the match.

Anderson, despite the discomfort of a back problem, was the aggressor in the sixth set, but amazingly missed seven darts for the match in the fourth leg as he allowed West to stay alive at two-all.

A 180 gave Anderson the perfect start to the deciding leg, and he eventually closed out the win to set up a tasty last eight clash with great rival Taylor in a repeat of the classic 2015 final.

WATCH LIVE
The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast live worldwide through the following broadcast partners:
PDCTV-HD - PDC Website for Rest of the World Subscribers
Sky Sports - UK & Ireland – dedicated “Sky Sports Darts” channel
RTL7 - Netherlands
Sport1 - Germany
DAZN - Germany, Austria, Switzerland Japan, Canada
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Pragosport - Hungary
OSN - Middle East & North Africa
Kwese - South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa
Eleven Sports - Belgium
BBC America - North America (excluding Canada)
Fox - Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Israel
TVP - Poland
CCTV - China
RTL - Croatia (Dec 28 onwards)
Eurosport - France, Romania, Spain
Eurosport Player - Andorra, Estonia, France & Monaco, Georgie, Israel, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey & CIS (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan)
Facebook Live via OfficialPDC page - for Caribbean & South America

 

LISTEN LIVE
Commentary of the remainder of the William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast live on talkSPORT and talkSPORT2 - click here for further details.