Darts: Ovens runs out of steam after blistering opening

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The Independent Online

Dennis Smith produced one the great comebacks yesterday at the World Matchplay in Blackpool to book a quarter-final against Phil Taylor.

The 33-year-old recovered from 11-6 down against the No 9 seed Denis Ovens to win 15-13. Ovens, who has struggled in front of the television cameras in recent years, made a blistering start, racing to a 4-1 lead.

The Stevenage thrower opened with a 13-darter and also checked out on 124 with a bull finish to take charge. But Smith suddenly looked unstoppable and took five successive legs to level at 11-11.

After Ovens failed with three attempts at double 16 with the match at 13-13, Smith nailed the same double to lead for the first time in nearly two hours before clinching victory in the next leg.

"It was the best match I've been involved in and I enjoyed it as well," Smith said. "It was crucial when he missed three darts at 32 and I managed to keep my head."

Peter Manley set up a last-eight match with Alex Roy by defeating the former world champion Keith Deller 13-11. Manley opened up a narrow 3-2 lead at the first break, but Deller won the next four and the two could not be separated after 18 legs, but Deller closed out the match with a 101.