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ROBERT THORNTON stormed to victory in the first Players Championship of 2013 with a sensational 6-0 whitewash of Belgium^s Ronny Huybrechts in Saturday^s final at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.

The Scot claimed the £10,000 first prize in stunning fashion as he saved his best performance of the day for last - averaging 111, hitting three ton-plus finishes and hitting six doubles from seven attempts.

He had claimed earlier wins over Dennis Smith, Peter Hudson, Tomas Seyler and Jelle Klaasen before completing a 6-1 quarter-final romp against Dean Winstanley with a 170 checkout.

Thornton then swept past his World Cup of Darts team-mate Gary Anderson 6-3 in the semis, and then took victory in the £50,000 event with a brilliant performance in the final.

Belgium^s Huybrechts, appearing in his first PDC ProTour final, held the advantage of throw but was punished for a miss at double 18 to a 147 checkout in the opening leg as Thornton broke throw with a two-dart 82 finish to complete an 11-darter.

He then added a second 180 of the game and finished tops for a 12-dart leg, and when Huybrechts missed four darts to win the third, Thornton came from nowhere to hit a killer 151 checkout.

The Scot then finished 130 and 101 to move 5-0 up, and hit double 19 for a 13-darter as he completed a fine triumph.

Thornton also won a Speedy Services UK Open Qualifier in Wigan earlier this year, and admits that the win is a boost to his hopes of claiming a McCoy^s Premier League Darts Play-Off place in next Thursday^s final league night.

"I must like Wigan because it^s two events I^ve won here this year," said Thornton. "I^m very happy and it^s been kind-of crazy because there were so many big names in the bottom half of the draw.

"My finishing all day was been unbelievable - everything seemed to go in. Ronny played well all day and he put up a good game, but my finishing wore him down.

"If I can take this into the Premier League on Thursday I^ll be happy. If I play like this on Thursday then they^ve got trouble!"

Belgium^s Huybrechts had only turned professional at the start of 2013, but showed his class as he claimed the £5,000 runner-up prize.

His day of darts began with wins over Lee Palfreyman, Ryan De Vreede and Peter Wright before he overcame Finland^s Jani Haavisto and Dave Chisnall to reach the semis.

There, he faced younger brother Kim for the first time in a PDC event, and averaged almost 108 in a brilliant 6-1 triumph to progress to the decider.

Kim Huybrechts^ run to the last four earned him £2,500 and included victories against Simon Whitlock, Kevin Painter, Vincent van der Voort and Brendan Dolan.

Anderson, meanwhile, continued his recent return to form as he reached the semis for a second successive Saturday in Wigan, as he defeated Steve Beaton, Michael Barnard, Johnny Haines, Andy Smith and Michael van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen reached his eighth quarter-final of 2013 before losing out to the Scot, while Whitlock enjoyed a fourth run to the last eight this year before he was seen off by Kim Huybrechts.

Dean Winstanley also reached the quarter-finals, for the first time this year, as he overcame John Henderson, Stuart Kellett, Ted Hankey and Raymond van Barneveld, while Dave Chisnall came from 4-0 down to defeat Colin Lloyd 6-4 as he moved into the last eight.

James Wade won through to the Last 16 with some superb darts, including a 107 average in his whitewash of Martyn Turner as he dropped only two legs in his opening three games before losing out to van Gerwen.

Finland^s Haavisto, playing in his first Players Championship event since winning a Tour Card in January, also moved into the Last 16, alongside Lloyd, Painter, Klaasen, van Barneveld, Andy Smith and Mervyn King.

World Champion Phil Taylor, though, suffered a rare first round defeat as he went down 6-4 to youngster David Pallett, who produced an impressive display to claim a memorable victory, while world number three Adrian Lewis was a second round casualty as he went down 6-5 to Johnny Haines.

Sunday will see a second Players Championship held at Wigan^s Robin Park Tennis Centre, with a further £50,000 prize money - increased in 2013 from £35,000 per event - on offer for the 128 players.

Players Championship 1
Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan - May 4
Michael van Gerwen Bye
Kevin McDine 6-1 Steve Grubb
Colin Fowler 6-5 Joe Cullen (32)
Connie Finnan 6-2 James Richardson
Terry Jenkins (16) 6-2 Denis Ovens
Martyn Turner 6-4 Marc Dewsbury
James Wade (17) 6-0 Alan Tabern
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Chris Aubrey
John Part (8) 6-5 William O^Connor
Jarkko Komula 6-4 Dan Russell
Andy Smith (25) 6-4 Joey Palfreyman
Mark Hylton 6-5 Kurt Van De Rijck
Adrian Lewis (9) 6-5 Steve Hine
Johnny Haines 6-4 Jim Walker
Gary Anderson (24) 6-4 Steve Beaton
Michael Barnard 6-3 Joe Murnan
Raymond van Barneveld (5) 6-1 Jamie Robinson
Jyhan Artut 6-5 Dave Honey
Mark Frost 6-4 Colin Osborne (28)
John Bowles 6-3 Nick Fullwell
James Hubbard 6-1 Andy Hamilton (12)
Ted Hankey 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Stuart Kellett (21) 6-1 Bernd Roith
Dean Winstanley 6-2 John Henderson
Robert Thornton (4) 6-2 Dennis Smith
Peter Hudson 6-1 Mark Dudbridge
Jamie Caven (29) 6-3 Keegan Brown
Tomas Seyler 6-4 Tony Littleton
David Pallett 6-4 Phil Taylor (13)
Matt Clark 6-3 Ken MacNeil
Mark Webster (20) 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 John Scott
Simon Whitlock (2) 6-2 Adam Hunt
Paul Amos 6-4 Steve McNally
Michael Smith 6-2 Wayne Jones (31)
Jerry Hendriks 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Ronnie Baxter (15) 6-3 Stephen Hardy
Darren Johnson 6-5 Adrian Gray
Mervyn King (18) 6-5 Matthew Dicken
Darron Brown 6-0 Charl Pietersen
Ian White (7) 6-2 Antonio Alcinas
Steve West 6-3 Ricky Evans
Kevin Painter (26) 6-2 Magnus Caris
Michael Mansell 6-5 Shaun Griffiths
Kim Huybrechts (10) 6-5 Darren Webster
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Roland Scholten
Brendan Dolan (23) 6-5 Paul Barham
Nigel Heydon 6-4 Darren Whittingham
Scott Rand 6-4 Justin Pipe (6)
Jani Haavisto 6-3 Veijo Viinikka
Mark Walsh (27) 6-3 Prakash Jiwa
Mark Jones 6-0 Kentaro Suzuki
Peter Wright (11) 6-2 Andy Pearce
Reece Robinson 6-4 Alex Roy
Ryan De Vreede 6-5 Richie Burnett (22)
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Lee Palfreyman
Dave Chisnall (3) 6-1 Josh Payne
Andy Jenkins 6-3 Mark Cox
Arron Monk (30) 6-2 Gaz Cousins
Terry Temple 6-4 Richie Howson
Paul Nicholson (14) 6-3 Co Stompe
Steve Brown 6-2 Keith Rooney
Colin Lloyd (19) 6-2 Ryan Harrington
Ross Smith 6-0 Campbell Jackson

Second Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Kevin McDine
Colin Fowler 6-5 Connie Finnan
Martyn Turner 6-5 Terry Jenkins
James Wade 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Jarkko Komula 6-4 John Part
Andy Smith 6-3 Mark Hylton
Johnny Haines 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-0 Michael Barnard
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Jyhan Artut
Mark Frost 6-0 John Bowles
Ted Hankey 6-3 James Hubbard
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Robert Thornton 6-0 Peter Hudson
Tomas Seyler 6-4 Jamie Caven
David Pallett 6-3 Matt Clark
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Mark Webster
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Paul Amos
Michael Smith 6-5 Jerry Hendriks
Darren Johnson 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Mervyn King 6-0 Darron Brown
Ian White 6-3 Steve West
Kevin Painter 6-2 Michael Mansell
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Nigel Heydon
Jani Haavisto 6-5 Scott Rand
Mark Walsh 6-2 Mark Jones
Peter Wright 6-1 Reece Robinson
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Ryan De Vreede
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Arron Monk 6-4 Terry Temple
Steve Brown 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Colin Lloyd 6-5 Ross Smith
Losers £250

Third Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Colin Fowler
James Wade 6-0 Martyn Turner
Andy Smith 6-2 Jarkko Komula
Gary Anderson 6-1 Johnny Haines
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Mark Frost
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Ted Hankey
Robert Thornton 6-3 Tomas Seyler
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 David Pallett
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Michael Smith
Mervyn King 6-0 Darren Johnson
Kevin Painter 6-5 Ian White
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Jani Haavisto 6-4 Mark Walsh
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Arron Monk
Colin Lloyd 6-3 Steve Brown
Losers £500

Fourth Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wade
Gary Anderson 6-3 Andy Smith
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Robert Thornton 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Mervyn King
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Kevin Painter
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Jani Haavisto
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Colin Lloyd
Losers £1,000

Gary Anderson 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Robert Thornton 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Losers £1,500

Robert Thornton 6-3 Gary Anderson
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Losers £2,500

Robert Thornton 6-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Winner £10,000
Runner-Up £5,000

Final - Leg-By-Leg
Robert Thornton v Kim Huybrechts
0-0 - Ronny Huybrechts wins the bull and throws first
1-0 - Thornton opens the final with a 180, and when Huybrechts misses double 18 for a 147 finish he steps in to take out 82 on tops in two darts to break.
2-0 - Thornton scores 140, 140 and 180 before landing tops for a 12-darter to double his lead.
3-0 - Huybrechts makes the initial running and lands a 170 as he leaves 71 - but four missed doubles allow Thornton back into the leg and the Scot takes out a killer 151 checkout to break throw again.
4-0 - Thornton opens with a 180, and Huybrechts adds a maximum of his own to leave 124 only for Thornton this time to finish 130 on double five to move four legs clear.
5-0 - Thornton takes out 101 to move a leg away from a second ProTour win of the year, maintaining a superb average of above 110.
6-0 - The Scot seals victory on double 19, ending the game with an average of 111.33 and a 6/7 finishing ratio.

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