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Taylor powers through with early Xmas present

Phil Taylor celebrates victory over Robert Thornton during the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Photo: PA Wire Phil Taylor celebrates victory over Robert Thornton during the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Photo: PA Wire

Monday, December 24, 2012
7:31 AM

Phil Taylor serenely made it through to the quarter-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship in the last match before the tournament shut down for Christmas.

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The 15-time world champion saw off Robert Thornton, a man who has held the Indian sign over him over recent months, 4-0 at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor was rarely troubled by an off-colour Thornton, checking out on 131 in the opener and then taking advantage of his opponent missing three throws at double top to take the second set.

He got out of trouble in the third, taking a leg against the throw with a stunning 121, and the fourth duly followed as Thornton fell to bits on stage, missing his ninth double of an awful night.

Before him, Andy Hamilton sounded a warning to those above him in the pecking order with an impressive 4-1 win over Terry Jenkins.

In a game where there was no clear favourite, Jenkins was unable to hit his doubles and was the victim of a man in brilliant form on checkout.

Jenkins actually took the opening set but cracks started to appear when he failed to land double top to go 2-0 up in the second, allowing Hamilton to nip in and level.

The 45-year-old then checked out on 86 to go 2-1 up and landed a double 16 to make it three, with Jenkins passing up six chances to take the fourth set.

It was only a matter of time for Hamilton after that and he crossed the line with a stunning 130 finish.

“I’m ecstatic with my game. I started so slow but I got used to it and started enjoying it,” said Hamilton, who is the only man to reach the quarter-finals of every major tournament this season.

“I had some great finishing and I am so happy.”

Hamilton and Taylor meet next.

Also in ominous form was many people’s title favourite, Michael van Gerwen.

The Dutchman was up against the flamboyance of Peter Wright and seemed a little stage-struck early on as he went 2-0 down, but won four sets on the reel to book his place in the third round after the Christmas break.

Earlier today, Dean Winstanley hit a nine-dart finish against Vincent van der Voort, but still fell to a 4-2 second-round defeat.

Winstanley was trailing by two sets to nil when he won the third leg of the third set in perfect style, hitting two 180s and a 141 checkout of treble 20, treble 19 and double 12.

That prompted a wild celebration as Winstanley ran across the stage at the Alexandra Palace in delight, but he quickly regained his composure to win the third and fourth sets to level the match at 2-2, before his slump.

The nine-dart finish will earn Winstanley a £15,000 bonus if no other player repeats the feat during the tournament to share the prize.

Mark Walsh also won 4-2, seeing off Justin Pipe, with the third game of the early session ending up the same as James Wade got the better of Steve Beaton.

Beaton looked poised to force a deciding set but amazingly busted on 122, hitting treble 20, treble 15 and then single 20 when he needed single one to leave double eight.

Wade took full advantage, hitting “Shanghai” for a 120 checkout to seal the victory.

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