Richie Burnett rolled back the years to dump Peter Wright out of the Cazoo UK Open at Butlin's Minehead Resort on Saturday night, as Michael van Gerwen produced a vintage display to progress to the quarter-finals.
Three-time champion Van Gerwen swept aside Luke Humphries in imperious fashion to book his place in the last eight, averaging 104 to cap off an outstanding display in his second game of Saturday's UK Open action.
The Dutchman reeled off seven straight legs from 6-3 down to overcome his compatriot Martijn Kleermaker earlier in the day in the fifth round, before dispatching 2021 runner-up Humphries.
Van Gerwen conjured up a majestic 170 checkout in leg three, which set the tone for a dominant display against the world number five, and he maintained his blistering form to continue his bid for the £110,000 top prize.
“You just need to focus on your own performance and that’s all you can do,” reflected Van Gerwen, who will feature in his seventh UK Open quarter-final on Sunday afternoon.
“There is still a long way to go. I’m only in the quarter-finals and I’m looking forward to my next game.
“They are long days at the UK Open, but I like it, I’m up for it. I love what I do, I love playing on the big stage and that is what makes me happy.”
Elsewhere, 56-year-old Burnett continued his fairy-tale run in Minehead, booking his place in a first televised ranking quarter-final since 2014 after defeating 2017 winner Wright in a dramatic Main Stage clash.
The veteran Welshman recovered from 7-5 down to edge out Ted Evetts in round five, before producing a clinical display to stun two-time World Champion Wright in a topsy-turvy last 16 tussle.
“I’m a tough old cookie. I love this game,” said Burnett, who beat Wright on his way to winning the 1995 Lakeside Championship 28 years ago.
“I was 7-3 up and I started thinking about it, but that’s natural. Peter’s at the top of the game, he’s a Premier League player, so it’s a big win for me.
“I haven’t been in that situation for a while, but experience got me through in the end. I have underachieved in this tournament, I have underachieved in my career, so I’m making up for lost time here.”
Nathan Aspinall is one of only two former champions left in the field, and he preserved his hopes of lifting a second UK Open crown with wins over Dirk van Duijvenbode and Joe Cullen.
Aspinall overturned an early 3-1 deficit and defied 12 maximums from Van Duijvenbode to secure a thrilling 10-8 victory, before punishing a below-par display from Cullen to storm to a 10-2 success.
“I had not won here since I won the UK Open and now I’m in the quarter-finals, so I’m taking the positives,” reflected Aspinall, who celebrated glory in 2019 and now plays Van Gerwen in the standout quarter-final tie.
“I think I dug deep and controlled the game. I wasn’t playing well but I took out some important shots. Joe is a fantastic player so I’m very happy to get the win.”
Dimitri Van den Bergh moved through to his second UK Open quarter-final - where he will play Burnett - after registering dramatic 10-8 wins over veteran duo Mervyn King and Gary Anderson in Saturday’s bumper day of darts.
Van den Bergh came from 6-5 behind to dethrone King, before surviving a scare to see off 2018 champion Anderson, who had fought back from 6-2 down to restore parity at eight apiece.
“I’m in disbelief - I never gave up,” claimed an emotional Van den Bergh, who produced clinical 81, 86, 120, 121 combination finishes to defy a 99 average from the Scot.
“I fell to my knees for a reason at the end - it was a massive win. I took my chances in the end and that’s what I practice and prepare for. It could have been different, but I’m in the quarter-finals.”
Rob Cross maintained his charge on Day Two, following up a resounding win over Steve Beaton with an impressive comeback victory against a resurgent Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Having edged out two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld in a fourth round decider, 2019 runner-up Cross wrapped up a 10-3 rout of Beaton, before overhauling a 4-2 deficit to dump out De Zwaan.
Martin Schindler continued his big stage progress by dumping out 2014 champion Adrian Lewis and Premier League star Jonny Clayton to advance to a first televised ranking quarter-final.
The diminutive German averaged 101 to celebrate a 10-5 win over two-time World Champion Lewis, before keeping his cool to sink Clayton, taking out 102, 108 and 115 finishes in the process.
Schindler will open Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals against 2015 semi-finalist Andrew Gilding, who continued his UK Open love-affair to move through to the last eight with hard-fought wins against Luke Woodhouse and Brendan Dolan.
Gilding made his big stage arrival with a run to the semi-finals eight years ago, and after accounting for Woodhouse, he reeled off five straight legs from 8-5 adrift to deny Dolan in the last 16.
Elsewhere, Adam Gawlas created history at Butlin’s Minehead Resort on Saturday, becoming the first Czech player to progress to the quarter-finals of a PDC televised event, where he now faces Cross.
The 21-year-old came through a nervy fifth round tie against Kevin Doets, before averaging 99 and converting 56% of his attempts at double to demolish William O’Connor 10-3.
Saturday’s afternoon session saw a host of big names exit in Minehead, as reigning champion Danny Noppert joined Premier League trio Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price and Chris Dobey in crashing out at the fifth round stage.
Noppert was edged out by O’Connor in a high-quality deciding leg tie, while World Champion Smith succumbed in similar fashion to 2021 runner-up Humphries, in a contest featuring 20 maximums.
Two-time finalist Price was beaten by an inspired De Zwaan, who averaged 105 and landed ten 180s to close out a 10-8 victory, recovering from 4-0 down and reeling off seven straight legs midway through the tie.
Meanwhile, Masters champion Dobey was beaten 10-6 by Brendan Dolan, with 2014 champion Lewis losing out to a superb Schindler at the same stage.
The draw for the semi-finals will be made on the Main Stage following the quarter-finals, as the tournament concludes during a blockbuster evening session.
Sunday's matches will be broadcast live on ITV4 for UK viewers, through the PDC's international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.
Cazoo UK Open
Saturday March 4
Jeffrey de Zwaan 10-8 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 10-9 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Martijn Kleermaker
Peter Wright 10-8 Callan Rydz
William O'Connor 10-9 Danny Noppert
Gary Anderson 10-2 Kim Huybrechts
Nathan Aspinall 10-8 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Mervyn King
Richie Burnett 10-9 Ted Evetts
Martin Schindler 10-5 Adrian Lewis
Joe Cullen 10-5 Karel Sedlacek
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Jose de Sousa
Adam Gawlas 10-8 Kevin Doets
Andrew Gilding 10-5 Luke Woodhouse
Brendan Dolan 10-6 Chris Dobey
Rob Cross 10-3 Steve Beaton
Nathan Aspinall 10-2 Joe Cullen
Richie Burnett 10-8 Peter Wright
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Luke Humphries
Andrew Gilding 10-8 Brendan Dolan
Adam Gawlas 10-3 William O'Connor
Martin Schindler 10-8 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 10-7 Jeffrey de Zwaan
2023 Cazoo UK Open
Sunday March 5
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Andrew Gilding v Martin Schindler
Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross v Adam Gawlas
Richie Burnett v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Best of 21 legs
Best of 21 legs