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Luke Littler books Bahrain Masters semi-final slot helped by nine-dart opening leg

Luke Littler booked a last-four Bahrain Masters showdown with former world champion Gerwyn Price after beating Nathan Aspinall 6-3.

The 16-year-old World Championship runner-up nailed a nine-darter in the opening leg against fellow Englishman Aspinall to become the youngest player to achieve the televised feat.

Littler’s first three darts found the treble 20 bed and he repeated the feat on his return before a seventh dart set up a treble 19, double 12 finish.

The teenager was playing in just his second PDC event after becoming the youngest player to reach World Championship final at Alexandra Palace, where he eventually lost to Luke Humphries, earlier this month.

Littler won the second leg against the darts to take a 2-0 lead, only for Aspinall to break back in the third and then hold to make it 2-2.

However, Littler was not to be denied and eventually ran out a 6-3 winner with a 116 check-out.

"It's good to get a nine-darter on TV," said Littler. "Nathan said to me that it was only a hold of throw - hopefully I'll hit a few more."

World number one Luke Humphries saw his 20-game winning run come to an end as he missed out on claiming a fourth successive tournament win since last tasting defeat at the European Championship.

Humphries went down 6-4 to Price in the quarter-finals, as the 2023 runner-up continued his bid to claim the title this time around.

"You're never going to be happy about losing but that was going to come and you can't be perfect all the time," said Humphries, who had taken victory the Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship Finals and World Darts Championship during his winning run.

"I'm really disappointed because the way I played there wasn't my best and I had so many opportunities to win the game.

"Gezzy took advantage of my misses and fair play to him - my scoring wasn't at my best but this game is about millimetres and if you don't take those chances, you won't win.

"I've got a lot to look forward to this year so it won't drag me down too much. I think the last time I lost was October 29th so it's been an amazing run for me and it had to come to an end one day."

Reigning champion Michael Smith finished six doubles from ten attempts to sweep into the semi-finals with a 6-1 defeat of Peter Wright.

Smith will meet Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals, after the world number two produced another outstanding performance, defeating Rob Cross 6-4.

Cross landed all four of his attempts at doubles in the tie, but Van Gerwen ended with a 105.97 average and finished six doubles from seven as he powered into the last four.


Bahrain Darts Masters quarter-finals results
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Luke Humphries
Michael Smith 6-1 Peter Wright
Luke Littler 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Rob Cross


READ MORE: 2024 Darts Calendar: Every major televised tournament, dates, results and where to watch

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