James Wade's bid to win the Speedy Hire UK Open title for a second time continued as he ended Paul Nicholson's hopes at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as Mark Webster, Wes Newton and Denis Ovens joined him in the semi-finals
Nicholson had knocked out Gary Anderson and reigning champion Phil Taylor in a brilliant day of darts on Saturday, but was unable to add world number four Wade to his list of victims in a tense quarter-final contest.
Wade pulled clear from two-all to lead 5-2 and 8-5, and despite a rally from the 2010 Players Championship Finals winner the left-hander held on to book his semi-final berth.
"It was a really tough game," said Wade, the 2008 UK Open champion. "Paul's had a great tournament and he pushed me all the way there too but I showed I've got the game to challenge this weekend.
"I've done it the hard way by starting in the first round on Thursday but I'm still in there and I think my odds are pretty good now!"
Wade will face another left-hander, Mark Webster, in Sunday evening's semi-finals, with Wes Newton or Denis Ovens awaiting the winner in the final in a testing night.
"Mark's a great player and it promises to be a fantastic semi-final," added Wade. "We both know each other pretty well and I'm looking forward to it."
Webster secured his first UK Open semi-final spot with a classy 10-7 win over Robert Thornton.
Webster led 4-0 and also took out a 142 finish in moving 6-2 up, but the Scot replied with three bullseye finishes, including a 170, before the left-hander eventually prevailed.
"I made a dream start and I thought that once I got out to 4-0 up I wouldn't surrender that," said Webster. "He put me under pressure but I closed the game out well.
"I've fallen in the semi-finals of PDC majors before, including at the World Championship, and I don't want to do that again tonight, I want to go all the way and I'm focused on that."
In-form Wes Newton booked his place in only the third major semi-final of his career - following up previous runs to the last four of the 2005 and 2006 Las Vegas Desert Classics with a 10-8 defeat of Dave Chisnall.
Newton had defeated Raymond van Barneveld 9-1 in Saturday's last 16 and never trailed against the Bolton debutant, who battled bravely but saw the Fleetwood ace take out finishes of 118 and 104 on his way to the win.
"It feels brilliant to be through," said Newton. "I didn't play as well in this game as I could, or as I did against Raymond, and it was a battle for both me and Dave.
"But I've got the win and still have a chance in this tournament, and I can look forward to the semi-finals now. I'm feeling good and will give it my all."
Veteran Denis Ovens will take on Newton in the last four, having defeated left-hander Mark Hylton 10-6 in their quarter-final clash.
Ovens made a superb start to lead 5-0 against Hylton, who pulled back to 7-6 at one stage finishes of 104 and 107, only for the 53-year-old from Stevenage a key 106 in reply to secure his second successive UK Open semi-final.
"I'm quite pleased but I know I've still got two games to win yet," said Ovens. "I started off well but then Mark started coming back, and thankfully I'd punished him for his slow start when I had the chance."
Sunday night's winner will pocket a cool £40,000 cheque, with the runner-up taking home £20,000 and the semi-finalists guaranteed £10,000.
Speedy Hire UK Open - Quarter-Finals
Denis Ovens 10-6 Mark Hylton
Mark Webster 10-7 Robert Thornton
Wes Newton 10-8 Dave Chisnall
James Wade 10-7 Paul Nicholson
James Wade v Mark Webster
Wes Newton v Denis Ovens
Best of 19 legs
Wade/Webster v Newton/Ovens
Best of 21 legs