PartyPoker.net - 2nd Round aft session
RONNIE BAXTER and Robert Thornton set up a tasty quarter-final clash at the PartyPoker.net European Championship with wins in Saturday^s early second round games.
Baxter ended the hopes of Spanish newcomer Carlos Rodriguez with a 9-5 victory at the Südbahnhof in Frankfurt, reaching his first televised quarter-final this year.
Thornton, meanwhile, came from 7-5 down to defeat Austria^s Mensur Suljovic 9-7 and book his place in the last eight.
The Scot hit six 180s in winning through to his first major quarter-final since moving onto the PDC circuit earlier this year.
They are joined in the last eight by Adrian Lewis, who took a 9-5 win over Denis Ovens.
Lewis struggled with his doubles during the game, but now awaits the winner of Raymond van Barneveld^s clash with Dennis Priestley in Sunday^s quarter-finals.
Saturday^s evening session also includes world number one Phil Taylor against Mervyn King, James Wade^s meeting with Alan Tabern, Wayne Mardle against Mark Walsh and Jelle Klaasen^s clash with Alan Tabern.
PartyPoker.net European Championship
Ronnie Baxter 9-5 Carlos Rodriguez
Adrian Lewis 9-5 Denis Ovens
Robert Thornton 9-7 Mensur Suljovic
6.50pm Jelle Klaasen v Alan Tabern
7.40pm James Wade v Peter Manley
8.40pm Phil Taylor v Mervyn King
9.40pm Raymond van Barneveld v Dennis Priestley
10.40pm Wayne Mardle v Mark Walsh
Best of 17 legs
Live on ITV4 - all times local (GMT is -1 hour)
RONNIE BAXTER 9-5 CARLOS RODRIGUEZ
RONNIE BAXTER reached his first televised quarter-final of 2008 with a 9-5 win over Spaniard Carlos Rodriguez in the PartyPoker.net European Championship.
Baxter has enjoyed a strong year on the circuit without yet producing his best form in the majors.
However, he put himself into Sunday^s final stages with a strong display to see off the newcomer^s challenge.
Baxter did much of the damage in taking leads of 5-1 and 8-2 before Rodriguez threatened a comeback, only for the Blackpool ace to seal his win at the sixth time of asking.
Baxter landed a maximum in winning the opening leg on double five, and defied a 180 from Rodriguez to double his advantage.
Rodriguez - who knocked out number five seed Terry Jenkins in round one - got off the mark on double eight, but Baxter took the next two legs to open up a 5-1 cushion.
The Spanish ace landed a second maximum of the contest in setting up a double 18 finish in leg seven, but a miss at double eight in the next allowed Baxter to restore his advantage on tops.
Double top moved him 7-2 up and he then took out double eight to put himself on the brink of victory.
Rodriguez hit his favoured double 18 once more to win the 11th leg, and three missed match darts from Baxter in the next allowed him to land double top to stay in the game.
A 78 finish then saw the Barcelona-based star cut the gap to 8-5, but Baxter ensured his quarter-final spot on double five.
"I was pleased to finally get over the winning line!" said Baxter. "I thought the final double might not go in, but the double five got me there eventually!
"I^m enjoying the tournament and I^ll remain focused and relaxed for Sunday, and hopefully keep my consistency."
ADRIAN LEWIS 9-5 DENIS OVENS
ADRIAN LEWIS overcame some wayward finishing to book his quarter-final place in the PartyPoker.net European Championship with a 9-5 defeat of Denis Ovens.
Lewis struggled to find his range on his favoured double top throughout the win over Ovens, and admitted that his recovery shots on double ten and five "saved" his chances in the tournament.
Three missed doubles in the first leg cost Lewis as Ovens leg, and he was also off-target with his finishing in the third to trail 2-1, when he could have led 3-0.
Ovens wasted his chances in the next two legs, as Lewis levelled on double eight after the Stevenage man missed the bull for a 161 finish in leg four and double 14 for a 121 checkout in the next.
Lewis followed that first break of throw in leg five with double ten to win the sixth and lead 4-2.
Ovens edged a scrappy seventh, but even 180s to begin the next two legs were not enough as Lewis found another gear to win three in a row and take a 7-3 advantage.
Misses in the next let Ovens back in on double two, before the veteran star missed double ten for a 140 finish to take leg 12 as Lewis took an 8-4 cushion.
Double ten kept Ovens in the game, but a 180 from Lewis pulled him clear in the next leg, and he wrapped up the win on double ten.
"Double top^s normally my favourite double, but I struggled with it today and double ten and double five came to my rescue," said Lewis.
"I^m relieved to get through and can look forward to the quarter-finals now. I don^t mind playing either Raymond van Barneveld or Dennis Priestley next, I know I^ve got the game to beat anyone on my day so I^m not worried."
Lewis had to visit hospital following his first round win over Hannes Schnier on Friday night, having cut three fingers on his non-throwing hand on a broken glass ahead of the match.
"I^m okay now," he added. "I^ve been patched up by the doctors and I^m a bit sore, but luckily the injury wasn^t too serious."
ROBERT THORNTON 9-7 MENSUR SULJOVIC
ROBERT THORNTON battled back from 7-5 down against Mensur Suljovic to win through to his first PDC major quarter-final at the PartyPoker.net European Championship.
The Scot has made swift progress since joining the PDC earlier this year, and booked a last eight clash with Ronnie Baxter at the Südbahnhof in Frankfurt on Sunday.
Three times during the contest he hit six perfect darts, and not only did a possible nine-darter go begging but the Austrian newcomer held the lead for much of the game, only for a four-leg burst late on to put Thornton through.
Thorntonopened the match with back-to-back 180s only to miss a seventh treble 20, but took the leg on double ten.
Double eight saw Suljovic - who defeated Roland Scholten in round one - level, before he took the third leg on double eight to break throw, despite another maximum from Thornton.
Scores of 174 and 180 to open the next leg set up another chance to achieve a perfect leg, only for Thornton to hit treble 20 but miss the treble 17 - and he went on to lose the leg after two misses at double 20.
A two-dart 74 finish reduced the gap to 3-2, but Thornton was unable to break throw despite a 160 finish and some unerring accuracy on double top, with the next eight legs shared to leave Suljovic 7-5 up.
But a missed double seven for an 8-5 lead proved costly for Suljovic, as Thornton hit double top once more and then punished three further misses to hit a key double ten and break throw to level.
Double top put him in front for the first time since the opening leg at 8-7 and he took the next on double four to wrap up the win.