Two days after breaking the tournament average record, Richard Veenstra came agonisingly close to the first nine-darter at Lakeside in 32 years as he defeated top seed Brian Raman 4-2 to make his second career World Championship semi-final.
Unsurprisingly for a game between two of the quicker throwers in the tournament, it was fast and furious from the outset.
The first set went the Dutchman’s way, taking it 3-2 on throw after Raman missed four darts to break in the deciding leg. Raman started the second set well, back-to-back 180s teeing up a 13-darter, before Veenstra won three on the spin in 46 darts to open out a two-set lead going into the first break.
Raman halved the deficit by winning the third set 3-1 and a 14-dart break of throw soon saw him 2-0 up in the fourth. Veenstra immediately responded to level with a brace of 16-darters but then missed two darts to take a 3-1 lead in sets, Raman stepping up to hit 39 and level the match.
Veenstra came out of the second break strongly, going 2-0 up in the fifth set before squandering four set darts and allowing Raman back in. He rallied, though, winning that set with a 13-darter before also winning the sixth to seal his spot in the last four.
The first four legs of the sixth set went with throw, Raman and Veenstra trading finishes of 104 and 100, before Veenstra turned on the afterburners by wiring a shot at double 12 for what would have been a magical match-winning nine-darter. He converted the next time though and that 10-darter now stands as the best leg of the tournament.
Veenstra, who ended the game with 10 180s and a 94.83 average, will be back in action tomorrow evening to face Northern Ireland’s Neil Duff for a spot in the final.
Following Raman’s defeat, Cameron Menzies is the only PDC Tour Card holder left in the field after he dumped out the WDF World No.1 James Hurrell.
Hurrell started the match with a 180 and initially kept pace with the Scot but it wasn’t to last, Menzies rattling off three 14-darters in a five-leg run that saw win the first two sets with relative ease.
That run extended to eight legs as Menzies took the third set 3-0 before Hurrell eventually stopped the rot with a superb 11-darter. He couldn’t make it count though, missing four set darts as Menzies came from 2-1 down to wrap up a convincing 4-0 victory and seal a semi-final meeting with France’s Thibault Tricole.
Despite not feeling at her best going into the game, Beau Greaves dropped just one leg in a superb 2-0 victory over former World Master Aileen de Graaf.
De Graaf, who began her tournament by ending the title reign of Mikuru Suzuki, won the opening leg of the match, taking out 92 on the bull, but didn’t get another as Greaves ran away with it.
The Doncaster teenager threw three 180s and won the next six legs on the spin to wrap up a straight-sets victory and finish with an 85.84 average.
Greaves’ opponent in the semi-finals tomorrow will be Lorraine Winstanley after she defeated Australia’s Tori Kewish 2-1.
Winstanley took the first set fairly comfortably 3-1 but she was beset by double trouble in the second, Kewish capitalising with an early break as she won that set by the same margin.
A runner-up in this event in 2020, Winstanley was much better in the third set. Kicking off with a 19-dart break, she took out 120 to move within a leg of the match. Kewish missed a dart at the bull to stay alive in the third leg, Winstanley hitting the match-winning double at the ninth time of asking.
Lorraine Winstanley 2-1 Tori Kewish
Richard Veenstra 4-2 Brian Raman
Beau Greaves 2-0 Aileen de Graaf
Cameron Menzies 4-0 James Hurrell
Photo Credit: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics