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Michael van Gerwen relieved to beat battling Robert Thornton

Michael van Gerwen expresses his relief at beating Robert Thornton to move into the semi-final of the PDC World Championship.

Michael van Gerwen has hailed the battling spirit of Robert Thornton after beating the Scot 5-2 in the quarter-finals of the PDC World Championship last night.

The reigning world champion cruised into a 3-0 lead before going within one leg of a four-set lead, but Thornton battled back to make it 3-2.

However, the Dutchman found his rhythm once more, winning the following two sets before registering a 170 checkout to book his place in the semi-finals in style.

"At one point I was 3-0 up and I thought I was going to relax and play well and keep the form going. But Robert never gave up and he fought back really well," he told Sky Sports News.

"I needed to do everything to make sure I kept ahead. I was under pressure and after that I felt a bit nervous because I thought 'that's not going to happen to me'.

"But what a game. Hitting that 170 was a big relief for myself and I couldn't have a better moment."

The 25-year-old will face Gary Anderson - who eliminated last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright - in the last four of the competition.

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Peter Wright of Scotland celebrates defeating Simon Whitlock of Australia in their semi final match on day fifteen of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship on December 30, 2013
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