Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price were among the eight players to reach the quarter-finals of the 2021 Ladbrokes UK Open in Milton Keynes on Saturday.
The world’s top two will return to compete in Finals Day at the Marshall Arena on Sunday, where the title and £100,000 top prize will be up for grabs.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen enjoyed victories over Mensur Suljovic and Jose de Sousa in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively on the second day of the multi-board event.
Following a comfortable 10-4 success over Suljovic which saw him average 103.8, the Dutchman was pushed all the way by De Sousa, eventually producing a strong last leg to come through the decider.
“I think I played a good game but there were too many points I should have done better,” Van Gerwen reflected on his win over De Sousa.
“I let him come back a couple of times into the game and I should put him more under pressure and I should have taken advantage more of my chances and I didn’t do that.
“I can only blame myself for that unfortunately, but a win is a win and you need to try to take the positives out of the game because that’s really important, and we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Van Gerwen will now take on Krzysztof Ratajski in Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals, after the Polish number one impressed with averages of 100.5 and 103.5 in victories over Madars Razma and in-form Jonny Clayton.
“Krzysztof is a great player and it’s a tough draw again, but you have to beat everyone if you want to win this tournament,” added Van Gerwen. “I need to make sure I concentrate on my own form and then I’m sure I can do more damage in this tournament.
“When he plays against me he’s going to feel more under pressure as well – it’s a totally different game for him playing any other players than playing me.”
It was a comfortable day for world number one Price, who began the day with a resounding 10-3 win over Ricky Evans, before averaging 102.1 in a 10-5 success over Chris Dobey.
The World Champion will be looking to add a first UK Open title to his collection on Sunday on his 36th birthday, having reached the final twice in the past four years.
“I’m happy with my work so far, but there’s a lot more to come from me and I’ll have to produce it if I’m going to win this title,” said Price. “One minute I feel like I can’t miss and two minutes later I can’t hit a barn door.
“I’m getting more confident as the weekend goes by, every game I’m progressing and getting better so hopefully if I get to the final I produce my best game.
“It would be a good birthday present to even get to the final, and even nicer to win.”
Price’s next assignment will see him take on Devon Petersen, after the South African secured victories over Yorkshire pair Scott Waites and Peter Jacques to reach the last eight for the first time since 2015.
2008 and 2011 champion James Wade continued his bid for a third UK open title with typically efficient wins over Rob Cross and Gabriel Clemens.
Wade will now meet Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals, after the Australian number one came through back-to-back last-leg deciders against Darius Labanauskas and Brendan Dolan to reach the last eight for a second time.
Dave Chisnall, a semi-finalist at the 2012 event, continued his bid for a maiden televised title with victories over Danny Noppert, in which he averaged 104.4, and impressive Scottish newcomer Alan Soutar.
World number seven Chisnall will now take on former World Youth Champion Luke Humphries, who defeated Ryan Searle and Martijn Kleermaker to reach his first televised quarter-final outside of the World Championship.
Sunday’s Finals Day will see the draw for the semi-finals made at the conclusion of the quarter-finals, before the decisive semi-finals and final are played in the evening session.
Sunday’s action will be broadcast live on ITV4 for UK viewers, through the PDC’s international broadcast partners, including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.
2021 Ladbrokes UK Open
Saturday March 6
James Wade 10-7 Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Ricky Evans
José de Sousa 10-9 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Mensur Suljovic
Simon Whitlock 10-9 Darius Labanauskas
Gabriel Clemens 10-7 Daryl Gurney
Chris Dobey 10-1 John Brown
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Luke Humphries 10-7 Ryan Searle
Martijn Kleermaker 10- Callan Rydz
Alan Soutar 10-7 Ron Meulenkamp
Brendan Dolan 10-6 Luke Woodhouse
Peter Jacques 10-9 Max Hopp
Devon Petersen 10-5 Scott Waites
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-8 Madars Razma
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Danny Noppert
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Alan Soutar
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-3 Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price 10-5 Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Jose de Sousa
Luke Humphries 10-4 Martijn Kleermaker
Devon Petersen 10-4 Peter Jacques
Simon Whitlock 10-9 Brendan Dolan
James Wade 10-5 Gabriel Clemens
Sunday March 7
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
Gerwyn Price v Devon Petersen
Dave Chisnall v Luke Humphries
Krzysztof Ratajski v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Semi-Finals & Final
Best of 21 legs