Simon Whitlock and Daryl Gurney claimed shock victories at Butlins, Minehead, while Michael van Gerwen and Ian White progressed.
Whitlock reached his first major quarter-final for 18 months after winning the most dramatic match of the second round 10-9 against world number four Wright.
Both players missed four match-darts in a tense last-leg decider, which went Whitlock’s way as he fought off Wright’s 102 average to set up a last eight clash with Adrian Lewis.
Wright stormed into a 3-0 lead, hitting three 180s in the process, including back-to-back maximums to start the third leg. He fired in another 180 in the following leg but Whitlock stopped the surge by taking out 100.
Wright replied with a 66 finish before Whitlock’s first 180 helped him win the sixth leg. The next leg went with the throw before ‘The Wizard’ broke with an 82 checkout on the bull – only to see his opponent hit back immediately by bedding tops to lead 6-4.
Whitlock secured another break of throw by finishing 68 but Wright again replied in kind with an 11-darter. The world number four then pegged double four to move within two legs of victory but Whitlock kept his hopes alive by landing double three.
He then took out 96 to win a leg against the throw for the third time and this time he followed it up by holding with a 92 finish on the bull as he squared up at eight legs apiece.
“That meant the world to me,” said an emotional Whitlock.
“I’ve been in the doldrums for 18 months now and it means everything to get a win like that against a player as good as Peter Wright.
“I thought I was in trouble at the end but I stayed positive and got a bit of luck and managed to hit double nine.
“I’ve been working hard on my game and there’s no reason I can’t go on and win this.”
Wright broke back again though, forcing a last leg decider and he looked to have ended Whitlock’s hopes when he hit a 180 to set up 61. Whitlock then missed the bull for a 170 finish and both players squandered further match darts before the former European Champion pegged double nine to progress.
Gurney claimed a second big scalp in as many days as he knocked out defending champion Gary Anderson to reach his first TV quarter-final.
The Northern Irish ace won the last six legs to claim a 10-6 victory against the world champion and world number two, who failed to reach his usual high standards.
The first nine legs went with the throw before Gurney grabbed the first break by bedding double 18 and he never looked back, reeling off finishes of 52, 70 and 32 before completing the win on double 16.
“Neither of us played our best game but I’m happy to be through,” said Gurney, who had defeated Kim Huybrechts in the first round.
“I was lucky that Gary didn’t play like he normally does but I did what I had to and tomorrow I hope to play like I did against Kim because if I do that I can go a long way in this tournament.”
There were no such problems for number one seed van Gerwen, who averaged over 103 in a 10-6 success against his good friend Vincent van der Voort.
Van der Voort won the first two legs thanks to a 74 checkout to break in the first before pegging tops to double his lead. Van Gerwen won the next three, though, landing double top and double eight either side of a 94 finish against the throw.
Van der Voort’s second 180 helped him pull level but van Gerwen responded by hitting his second maximum and pinning double eight.
A 68 checkout from former UK Open finalist van der Voort restored parity at four legs apiece but van Gerwen edged back ahead with the aid of another 180 before breaking his opponent’s throw to lead 6-4.
The world number one also won the next leg before van der Voort produced a brilliant 130 checkout.
Van Gerwen started the 13th leg with back-to-back 180s and found two further trebles on his next visit but missed double 12 for a nine-darter. He returned to land double six though.
Van der Voort grabbed the next leg but van Gerwen took the next two to seal a 10-6.
“There are no friends on the oche but it is always very difficult to play Vincent,” said van Gerwen, the 2013 Cash Converters Players Champion.
“That’s not just because he is my friend and was best man at my wedding but also because he is a very good player.
“I had to remain focused and get the job done. We’d seen a lot of the favourites go out already and I didn’t want to join that list. I’ve made every final since the World Championships on TV and I’m determined to keep that going.”
White edged out Gerwyn Price to reach the quarter-finals with a 10-9 victory to set up a clash with in-form Mensur Suljovic.
Price had looked set to progress when he broke White’s throw in the 17th leg but the number seven seed fired in a vital 180 followed by an 81 checkout to level before winning the deciding leg.
The pair both held their throws in the first two legs before 180s in each of the next two saw White go 3-1 in front. Price broke back straight away and levelled up at three apiece after both players struggled to close out the sixth leg.
The next eight legs were shared to leave the match finely poised at 7-7 and they continued to win their own throws as White took out 65 and Price replied with a 95 finish with his opponent waiting on a double.
Price then grabbed a seemingly crucial break with a 74 checkout but White hit a timely seventh 180 to set up 81 and completed the finish to force a last-leg decider. The world number nine then held his nerve to pin double ten and move into the last eight.
“I’m just pleased to win tonight,” said White, who is looking to reach his first PDC major semi-final.
“I thought I’d blown it when I was 9-8 down. I hit the score I had to to give myself a chance.
“Hopefully I can get to the semi-final as once I get over that line, I know I can go on and make finals.”
In Saturday's afternoon session Benito van de Pas and Mensur Suljovic shocked James Wade and Michael Smith to reach the quarter-finals of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, while Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall also progressed on Saturday afternoon at Butlins, Minehead.
Van de Pas reached his first PDC major quarter-final after a stunning display to defeat Wade in which he averaged over 105.
The most impressive aspect of the Dutchman’s performance was his ruthless finishing as eight checkouts of between 72 and 100 proved the key to a dominant victory.
Van de Pas started sensationally, winning the first four legs with checkouts of 72, 79, 72 and 96 to pile the pressure on number four seed Wade.
‘The Machine’ responded by taking out 102 but van de Pas continued his relentless finishing as he added 85, 90 and 100 to his incredible collection of combination checkouts as he moved 7-1 in front.
The Dutch youngster then pinned double ten and Wade replied in kind before van de Pas landed double top for his fifth break of throw, moving him within one leg of victory.
Wade kicked off the next leg with back-to-back 180s as he got a third leg on the scoresheet but it proved to be his last as two scores of 177 and a clinical 90 finish completed a landmark victory for ‘Big Ben’.
“That was my best game ever on television,” said van de Pas, who will face Gary Anderson or Daryl Gurney in the last eight.
“My floor game is finally coming to the big stage now and it’s a great win for me. I took nearly all of my chances and that is what you need to do.
“Hopefully I can continue to play like this and who knows what can happen.”
Number two seed Smith was also dumped out of the tournament as Suljovic reached his fourth major quarter-final of 2015 with a 10-3 success.
Last month’s World Grand Prix semi-finalist Suljovic twice won five consecutive legs to see off a below-par Smith in the opening game of round two. Smith was punished for missing doubles in three of the first five legs as Suljovic raced into a 5-0 lead, taking out a 96 finish in the process.
The Austrian ace then missed a dart to win each of the next three legs with Smith capitalising to move within two of his opponent. A scrappy end to the ninth leg saw Suljovic eventually land double four after the pair both missed a string of shots at doubles.
He then pinned his favourite double fourteen to break and open up a four-leg lead before moving 8-3 ahead by taking out 64 despite miscounting and busting his score in the previous visit to the board.
Suljovic then finished the job in style, brilliantly finishing 137 to move within a leg of victory, which he completed with a ten-darter after missing double 18 for a perfect leg.
Adrian Lewis booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 10-3 triumph against Alan Norris thanks to five 180s and a 99.84 average. The world number five pegged double nine to break his opponent’s throw in the opening leg before pegging double five to double his advantage.
Norris pulled a leg back before Lewis produced a fabulous 121 finish on the bull and he won the following leg on double 15 to lead 4-1.
Norris missed double 15 for a 150 checkout, allowing Lewis to bed tops to move four legs clear. The pair both kicked off the seventh leg with maximums, with Norris cleaning up 46 but he was unable to find a break of throw to leave Lewis 7-3 up at the second interval.
The two-time World Champion then took out 96 and 81 to complete back-to-back 11 dart-legs, hitting three 180s on the way. A fifth maximum of the match for Lewis helped him wrap up the win as he landed double top to move into the last eight.
“I think we both started to kick in towards the end of the match,” said Lewis, who will face either Peter Wright or Simon Whitlock in round two.
“I’ve settled into the tournament now and I can rest and prepare for tomorrow. I know I’ll be playing a good player next but there is a lot more to come from me.”
Chisnall came out on top in the closest contest of the afternoon as he saw off Jamie Lewis in a high quality encounter. The pair shared 13 180s as Chisnall moved into the last eight for the first time on the Butlins, Minehead stage. A 180 helped Lewis take the opening leg but another in the second leg couldn’t stop Chisnall levelling.
The Welsh youngster’s third maximum was also in vain as Chisnall took out 68 to break but Lewis responded magnificently with consecutive finishes of 113 and 142, which he set up with yet another 180 – his fourth in the first five legs.
The pair exchanged maximums at the beginning of the sixth leg which Chisnall won with a spectacular 164 checkout. The 2015 Betway Premier League semi-finalist edged ahead by pinning double five but Lewis broke back immediately by taking out 58.
The next two legs went with the throw to leave the pair tied at five legs apiece before Lewis finished 98. Chisnall hit double 16 to restore parity once again but Lewis took out 70 and then landed double eight to break and move into an 8-6 lead.
Chisnall then took the next three legs to leave himself throwing for the match and when Lewis missed three darts to force a decider, the number eight seed took out 76 to complete the win.
Saturday evening sees the completion of the second round as Ian White takes on Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright faces Simon Whitlock, Daryl Gurney meets Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen plays Vincent van der Voort.
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