UK Open - Second Day

World Champion Luke Humphries and teenage superstar Luke Littler advanced to the last eight of the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open in Minehead on Saturday night.

Day Two of the 600,000 pound event saw the fifth and sixth rounds take place across a bumper double session at Butlin's Minehead Resort, with Humphries and Littler headlining the quarter-final line-up.

2021 runner-up Humphries conceded just seven legs in his two matches on Saturday, dispatching Benjamin Drue Reus and Mervyn King to maintain his bid for a fourth consecutive TV ranking title. The world number one averaged 101 in a thumping 10-3 win over Danish debutant Reus in his opener on Saturday, and he continued his charge with another emphatic victory against 2014 semi-finalist King.

"It's going to take a big performance to beat me," insisted Humphries, who has won his last 22 televised ranking matches in a record dating back to October. "Mervyn is a legend and someone I look up to, but maybe I did switch off and I shouldn't have given him that bit of hope. "Sometimes in the middle of games I just go missing - you can't be perfect all the time but if I can change that, I believe I can carry on this winning streak."

Littler also impressed in booking his place in the quarter-finals, overcoming Martin Schindler and Dave Chisnall with ton-topping averages.
The Warrington wonderkid dumped out three-time champion James Wade on Friday evening, and he was forced to recover from 5-3 down to see off a spirited Schindler in round five. Littler then ran out a resounding 10-5 winner against Chisnall in the last 16, averaging 103 and winning six of the last seven legs to maintain his bid for a first televised ranking crown.

"It would be unbelievable to win this title," admitted Littler, one of three Premier League players left in the tournament. "I'm not thinking that far ahead though. I'm just taking it game by game. "I struggled to get over the line against Martin, but I think I played better tonight against Dave, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow now."

There will be a new name on the UK Open trophy in 2024, as Masters champion Stephen Bunting ended the hopes of 2017 winner Peter Wright in a dramatic last 16 showdown.
Wright rallied from 9-6 adrift to force a decider, only for Bunting to seal the deal with a 13-dart hold, having also accounted for Kevin Doets in a last-leg tie earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, 2019 runner-up Rob Cross advanced to his fifth UK Open quarter-final in seven years after recording a brace of 10-4 wins against Josh Rock and Keane Barry on Stage Two.
Cross produced the performance of the tournament to dispatch Rock with a 105 average, and he later punished a tentative start from 2022 semi-finalist Barry to continue his serene progress.

Australian number one Damon Heta is another high-profile name still in the hunt for the 110,000 pound top prize, courtesy of dramatic comeback wins over Nathan Aspinall and Gian van Veen.
Heta recovered from 8-4 down to sink 2019 winner Aspinall in a last-leg thriller, while he overturned a 7-3 deficit against Van Veen in the last 16, winning seven of the last eight legs to triumph.

Martin Lukeman was one of Saturday's stand-out performers, dumping out former champions Danny Noppert and Gary Anderson in impressive fashion.
Lukeman recovered from 9-7 down to deny 2022 winner Noppert in round five, before delivering a finishing masterclass to stun 2018 champion Anderson, who averaged 102 in defeat. Lukeman - a World Grand Prix quarter-finalist in 2022 - converted 81, 82, 84, 92, 107 and 140 combinations, pinning 10 of his 13 attempts at double to clinch one of the biggest wins of his career.

Dimitri Van den Bergh secured his spot in the quarter-finals for a second straight year, courtesy of hard-fought wins over Vincent van der Voort and Jonny Clayton.
Van den Bergh won five of the last six legs to topple 2007 runner-up Van der Voort 10-6, before pinning 50 per cent of his attempts at double to defeat Wales' World Cup champion Clayton.

Ricky Evans was the first player to book his place in the last eight, after celebrating wins over Mike De Decker and Luke Woodhouse on Saturday.
Evans averaged over 97 to sweep aside De Decker in round five, before defying a mid-game rally from Woodhouse to progress to his second televised ranking quarter-final.

Saturday's afternoon session saw a host of big names exit in Minehead, with reigning champion Andrew Gilding condemned to a chastening 10-1 defeat to Wright on Stage Two. World number three Michael Smith and former winners Aspinall and Noppert also crashed out in round five, after suffering deciding-leg heartbreak against Woodhouse, Heta and Lukeman respectively.

The draw for the quarter-finals was made on the Main Stage following Saturday evening's action, with Bunting pitted against World Champion Humphries for a place in the semi-finals. Littler will lock horns with Heta, Cross takes on Evans, while Van den Bergh and Lukeman also go head-to-head.
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.

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