PDC World Darts Championship: Phil Taylor plays Andy Hamilton after Alexandra Palace victories
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 26/12/12 11:52am
Taylor - Toughest year ever
Phil Taylor will face Andy Hamilton in the quarter-finals of the PDC World Championship after a 4-0 demolition job on Robert Thornton, while Michael van Gerwen survived a scare to keep his title challenge on course.
Van Gerwen was first up on stage on Sunday night and the second favourite for the title had to battle to make it through to the third round after falling 2-0 behind against Peter Wright.
But 'Mighty Mike' showed his ability as he hit top gear, rattling off 12 of the next 14 legs to turn things around and beat Wright 4-2. He now moves on to a third-round clash with Colin Lloyd.
"I was 2-0 down because he hit some great finishes against me and I was struggling with some doubles, but after the break I found some confidence and I played some good darts after that," van Gerwen said on Sky Sports.
"I play Colin Lloyd next and I like playing him as I've had some good results against him but this is a different tournament altogether."
Meanwhile, Andy Hamilton continued his fine run of form in the major tournaments as he completed a convincing 4-1 win over Terry Jenkins despite dropping the first set.
The Hammer has now made at least the last eight of every major televised event in the last year, and he again showed his qualities to beat 'The Bull', who averaged 100 and hit 13 180s.
"I walked out here and it felt like I was in an oven it was that hot out here so it took me some time to settle down, but I'm so happy to have won that one," said Hamilton.
"I may not be the best player in the world but I'm the best fighter in the world and I think that's what I show in my darts, I'm never beaten until the last double goes in."
Hamilton will have to be at his very best in the quarter-finals when he takes on fellow Stoke thrower Taylor, with 'The Power' slowly coming to the boil as the tournament starts to enter the crucial stages after the Christmas break.
Taylor averaged 97, nothing particularly special for his standards, but he hit the out-shots just when he needed them as he gave Thornton little chance to get a foothold in the match.
"I'm happy with 4-0," said Taylor. "It was red hot out there, seriously it was boiling. Rob just missed a couple of crucial doubles and that's when I knew I would have chances.
"I'm getting better now slowly - I've been putting the work in, maybe I've been over practicing a little bit as I've been hammering the 180s every other shot but just up there it's not been happening.
"The averages and the 180s that's been going in the tournament has been amazing. It's going to be a brilliant quarter-finals and everyone keeps saying it but I think it's going to be the best World Championships we've ever had."