William Hill World Darts Championship Day Ten

PHIL TAYLOR continued his pursuit of a 17th William Hill World Darts Championship title with a commanding 4-0 victory over Justin Pipe, as Rob Cross won a thriller against Michael Smith on the final night of action before Christmas.
Taylor, 57, is playing in his 29th and final World Championship as he bids to end his career in style, and he certainly made no mistake against Pipe by winning 11 legs on the bounce to go through after seeing the Taunton man crucially miss two darts to win the opening set.
Taylor averaged 99, hit two 180s, took out 54 percent of his doubles and hit a ten-darter as he overcame a testing atmosphere inside Alexandra Palace to set up a last 16 meeting with Keegan Brown.
"I've had 30 years of experience and I've never played in a game like that in my career, it was very, very strange," said Taylor, referring to the reception Pipe received from the crowd following an incident in his first round win over Bernie Smith which has been referred to the Darts Regulation Authority.
"It was very difficult to concentrate, it was really hard. I just wanted to pinch that first set as I knew it'd be hard to concentrate for him with the crowd."
Taylor still insists he is happy to be walking away from darts after this tournament, but his competitive instincts mean he is desperate to go out on a high - and he'll spend one last Christmas preparing for a big push towards the title.
"Even though I'm really looking forward to finishing after this I still want to win it, but I'm not playing well enough to win it," Taylor added.
"I need to go home and get some rest in, it's all about rest for me now, getting my energy levels up to compete against these young lads like Michael and Gary. This is definitely the last time for me."
Former World Youth Champion Brown will get his dream tie against Taylor in the last 16 after he won a tough battle with Austrian Zoran Lerchbacher 4-2.
"I went a set up and thought about playing the winner of Phil Taylor or Justin Pipe, and I thought about that for the next four sets!" admitted the Isle of Wight thrower. "That's my fault and it wasn't my best performance.
"I'm very happy to get into the last 16 and words can't describe what it will be like to play Phil.
"I've read his autobiography about 20 million times over. As a kid all you saw was Phil Taylor, playing and winning."
Taylor's old sparring partner Raymond van Barneveld continued his fine form as he averaged 102.78 during his 4-1 win over Australia's Kyle Anderson to set up an all-Dutch showdown with Vincent van der Voort.
"The first two sets I was calm and I felt so comfortable up there," said Van Barneveld. "I'm really pleased, I'm really happy with my game."
Rising star Rob Cross proved he can handle the pressure of being amongst the tournament favourites in his debut this year as he won arguably the match of the tournament 4-3 against Michael Smith.
Smith averaged 103, hit 13 180s and won three more legs than Cross, who had 16 maximums and showcased the grit and determination he needed to go along with his obvious talent to show he is a real contender for the title.
"It was a good win for me but I will need to shape up because in certain sets there I wasn't brilliant throughout," said the Hastings ace.
"Going forward I need to be playing a more all-round game, and in every set I need to push. If I can do that then I've got every chance.
"Michael played fantastic darts and had two match darts, and I'm grateful that he missed. In the last set I gave it my all, and it was my day today."
Cross now faces John Henderson in the last 16, after the Scot took out well-fancied fourth seed and World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney with an impressive 4-2 victory.
"It was very nerve-wracking at the end I must admit," said Henderson. "I thought I let a lot of doubles slip early doors to take advantage but Daryl fought back.
"I'm so relieved to get the win as I was shaking! I was feeling the heat up there tonight so to get through that means everything to me."
Steve West is enjoying his best run in the tournament as he beat Jermaine Wattimena 4-1 to claim a huge last 16 tie against two-time winner Gary Anderson.
"I'm over the moon," said West. "It took me seven attempts to get through the first round and now I'm into the last 16."
The tournament now enjoys a three-day break for the Christmas period before resuming on Wednesday December 27.
The remaining second round ties see Simon Whitlock play Darren Webster, Alan Norris up against James Richardson, Kevin Munch playing Toni Alcinas and Peter Wright taking on Jamie Lewis.
The third round also begins on Wednesday, when reigning champion Michael van Gerwen plays Gerwyn Price and 2007 winner Van Barneveld meets Van der Voort.
Coverage will be live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, as well as worldwide through the PDC's international broadcasters and online through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.
William Hill World Darts Championship
Preliminary & First Rounds
Second Round
Saturday December 23
Afternoon Session
Keegan Brown 4-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
Michael Smith 3-4 Rob Cross
Steve West 4-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Evening Session (7pm)
Daryl Gurney 2-4 John Henderson
Phil Taylor 4-0 Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Kyle Anderson
Second Round - Best of seven set