Raymond Van Barneveld produced an impressive display to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Embassy World Championship here last night.
Facing John Burton, the Dutchman, twice a winner of this event, missed a couple of doubles at the start of the first set but then took control and clinched a comfortable 3-0 win.
Colin Monk edged one of the greatest matches in 26 years of the championship when he beat Tony O'Shea 3-2 after a sudden-death leg.
Monk inflicted a first-round defeat on O'Shea 12 months ago and with the score locked at 5-5 in the deciding set, the Basingstoke thrower nailed double 16 to win the sudden death leg. After last year's memorable tussle between the two players, the capacity crowd at the Lakeside Country Club were expecting something special, and they were not disappointed.
Last year's runner-up Mervyn King, who beat Monk in the semi-finals 12 months ago, will face him again in the last eight on Friday after he overcame Dennis Harbour 3-1.
Burton, a 3-1 first-round winner against Darryl Fitton, won the opening leg against van Barneveld by hitting double four. The Dutchman was guilty of squandering a number of chances in the second but Burton was unable to capitalise and his opponent scored double two to take the leg. The world No 2 then took the next two legs to take the first set.
Burton tried to fight back and responded with a 116 check-out. However, Van Barneveld won the next three, including a 13-dart leg, to move within one of victory. Another 13-dart finish clinched the first leg of the third set and, after Burton levelled, Van Barneveld wrapped things up, finishing the last leg with a 12-darter.
A delighted Van Barneveld was pleased with his performance. "I'm in good form," the 35-year-old said. "In November and December I won four successive tournaments, including the Swedish Open. My form is awesome, really, at the moment and my performances in those tournaments has given me a lot of confidence."
In the quarter-finals he will meet Belgium's Erik Clarys, who also won 3-0 in seeing off Robert Wagner. The Austrian former bodybuilder had raced into a two-leg lead before Clarys reeled off the next three legs to win the opening set.
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