Duff wins seven-set thriller against McEwan as Hutchinson and O'Sullivan book semi-final meeting
Neil Duff and Thibault Tricole both survived match darts to win seven-set thrillers as Rhian O'Sullivan and Kirsty Hutchinson also booked their spots in the semi-finals of the 2022 WDF World Championships.
McEwan and Duff, regular pairs partners on the tour, shared 18 180s between them in what proved to be a Lakeside classic.
It was a McEwan finishing masterclass through the first half of the match, starting off with a 90 checkout before wrapping up the first set 3-2 with a 112 finish. The second set also went the distance, a lovely 140 out helping McEwan go 2-0 up before Duff reeled him back to 2-2. Duff, by contrast, was struggling with his doubles but had a chance to level it up in sets. He wired 113, however, his Scottish opponent stepping up to take out 96 with a double-double finish.
McEwan continued to impress in the third, finding yet another ton-plus checkout as he won it 3-1. When he went 2-1 up in the fourth, he looked assured of a straight-sets victory. He missed a match dart at tops for 76, though, and from there Duff seized the initiative. The Northern Irishman capitalised on McEwan's miss to win that set 3-2 before breezing through the fifth set 3-0 in just 42 darts. The sixth saw the first four legs go on throw before McEwan missed his second match dart, wiring one at double 14 for a brilliant 138 finish. Duff against capitalised, winning that leg in 17 darts before carrying that momentum into the seventh set, which he won 3-1.
Up next for Duff, who threw 11 180s of his own and finished with a 94.28 average, is the winner of this evening's game between top seed Brian Raman and record-breaker Richard Veenstra.
Thibault Tricole is one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming the first French World Champion in darts after also surviving two match darts to see off Belgium's Andy Baetens in a 4-3 thriller.
Baetens resumed where he finished on Thursday night in the opening set, winning 3-0 in just 43 darts, but Tricole showed his quality to take the second set 3-2, a brilliant 118 finish the highlight. Belgium's 'Beast from the East' boasted a scoring advantage over his French adversary throughout the game but Tricole was dogged in sticking with him. Baetens, who finished the game with 12 180s, produced finishes of 96 and 82 to win the third set 3-1, but couldn't replicate that scoreline in sets, Tricole capitalising on a clutch of missed set darts from Baetens to win the fourth set and level the match at 2-2.
Tricole, who survived six match darts to beat Shawn Burt in his first game of the week, faced further set darts from Baetens in the fifth but the Belgian missed again as the Frenchman came through to win it 3-2. The Belgian, who won three ranking titles in 2021, found a second wind to win three legs on the spin and take the sixth set before following that up by racing two legs up in the decider. Baetens wired a shot at the bull for the match in the next leg, Tricole producing back-to-back 14-darters to force a sudden death leg. It was there that Baetens got a second match dart, bending the wire on a shot a tops, before Tricole hit double 10 at the first opportunity to seal an emotional victory.
Rhian O'Sullivan demonstrated that she's the player to beat in the Women's World Championship, producing the eighth-highest average in tournament history in a straight-sets victory over Maria O'Brien.
O'Brien, who took a tumble off the stage during her walk-on, produced a sensational 135 finish to break the O'Sullivan throw in the opening leg but she couldn't keep pace with the Welshwoman's power scoring.
O'Sullivan threw three 180s as she won the first 3-2 before going through the gears to take the second 3-1 with legs won in 17, 17 and 14 darts.
A finalist in this event in 2010 and 2011, O'Sullivan's quest for a third final will continue tomorrow when she faces Kirsty Hutchinson.
England's Hutchinson began the opening session with a scrappy, come-from-behind win over Dutch thrower Priscilla Steenbergen.
Hutchinson boasted a considerable advantage in scoring throughout the game but she really struggled on the outer ring in the early going, with Steenbergen gifted a number of opportunities that she was only too happy to take, including the deciding leg of the first set when Hutchinson wired 89 on the bull.
The missed doubles for Hutchinson became fewer and further between after the break, though, the reigning Welsh Open champion taking the next two sets 3-1 as Steenbergen's level began to fall away.
Veenstra comes close to a nine-darter as WDF World Championship semi-final lineups completed
Two days after breaking the tournament average record, Richard Veenstra came agonisingly close to the first nine-darter at Lakeside in 32 years as he defeated top seed Brian Raman 4-2 to make his second career World Championship semi-final.
Unsurprisingly for a game between two of the quicker throwers in the tournament, it was fast and furious from the outset.
The first set went the Dutchman's way, taking it 3-2 on throw after Raman missed four darts to break in the deciding leg. Raman started the second set well, back-to-back 180s teeing up a 13-darter, before Veenstra won three on the spin in 46 darts to open out a two-set lead going into the first break. Raman halved the deficit by winning the third set 3-1 and a 14-dart break of throw soon saw him 2-0 up in the fourth.
Veenstra immediately responded to level with a brace of 16-darters but then missed two darts to take a 3-1 lead in sets, Raman stepping up to hit 39 and level the match. Veenstra came out of the second break strongly, going 2-0 up in the fifth set before squandering four set darts and allowing Raman back in. He rallied, though, winning that set with a 13-darter before also winning the sixth to seal his spot in the last four. The first four legs of the sixth set went with throw, Raman and Veenstra trading finishes of 104 and 100, before Veenstra turned on the afterburners by wiring a shot at double 12 for what would have been a magical match-winning nine-darter. He converted the next time though and that 10-darter now stands as the best leg of the tournament.
Veenstra, who ended the game with 10 180s and a 94.83 average, will be back in action tomorrow evening to face Northern Ireland's Neil Duff for a spot in the final.
Following Raman's defeat, Cameron Menzies is the only PDC Tour Card holder left in the field after he dumped out the WDF World No.1 James Hurrell.
Hurrell started the match with a 180 and initially kept pace with the Scot but it wasn't to last, Menzies rattling off three 14-darters in a five-leg run that saw win the first two sets with relative ease. That run extended to eight legs as Menzies took the third set 3-0 before Hurrell eventually stopped the rot with a superb 11-darter.
He couldn't make it count though, missing four set darts as Menzies came from 2-1 down to wrap up a convincing 4-0 victory and seal a semi-final meeting with France's Thibault Tricole.
Despite not feeling at her best going into the game, Beau Greaves dropped just one leg in a superb 2-0 victory over former World Master Aileen de Graaf.
De Graaf, who began her tournament by ending the title reign of Mikuru Suzuki, won the opening leg of the match, taking out 92 on the bull, but didn't get another as Greaves ran away with it.
The Doncaster teenager threw three 180s and won the next six legs on the spin to wrap up a straight-sets victory and finish with an 85.84 average.
Greaves' opponent in the semi-finals tomorrow will be Lorraine Winstanley after she defeated Australia's Tori Kewish 2-1.
Winstanley took the first set fairly comfortably 3-1 but she was beset by double trouble in the second, Kewish capitalising with an early break as she won that set by the same margin.
A runner-up in this event in 2020, Winstanley was much better in the third set. Kicking off with a 19-dart break, she took out 120 to move within a leg of the match. Kewish missed a dart at the bull to stay alive in the third leg, Winstanley hitting the match-winning double at the ninth time of asking.
Pictures with credit to Tip Top Pics/Chris Sargeant