PDC World Darts Championship 2013: Highlighting the Top Stars Remaining

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PDC World Darts Championship 2013: Highlighting the Top Stars Remaining
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Don't worry: Just because Phil Taylor is out of the 2013 World Darts Championship doesn't mean the competition is any less entertaining. Plenty of talented players remain who will be able to enthrall the fans.

Taylor's loss was no doubt a shock. He's the best player in the world, so to see him go down in the second round was a massive disappointment.

That leaves the door open for a host of other players. With Taylor out of the way, the field is that much more open. You could argue that his loss adds even more excitement to the tournament.

Among the top contenders left, these four will be the most captivating to watch.

Michael Smith

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At the time of writing, Smith is one of six participants to have made the final 16. He did so by upending one of the tournament favorites, Taylor.

Needless to say, Smith was elated with the result, according to The Guardian:

I can't speak, my heart's pounding, I think I will have a heart attack. I showed I've got fight and battle and tenacity to keep up with the top players and proved I can play darts on TV. Now I'll have a good Christmas for once after not going out in the first round. This is life-changing.

As he has demonstrated before, Smith can beat anybody in the world on his best day. After knocking off Taylor, he'll have to believe anything is possible. He now has the confidence to go all the way.

But does Smith have any more magic left in the tank?

Robert Thornton

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Like Smith, Robert Thornton has assured his place in the last 16. He dismissed Beau Anderson with ease, winning in straight sets, 4-0.

That came after Thornton's 3-1 win over Max Hopp in the last 64, so the 46-year-old has built some great momentum heading into the next round.

What's surprising is that he admitted he was feeling under the weather, via RobertThornton.co.uk's Chris Murphy:

I was sick before I came on, I just felt a bit ill about an hour before the game so I’m glad to get through. My performance wasn’t too bad though, maybe I need to feel ill and play more often. I’ll take one game at time and see where it leads. You have to fight in every game.

Who knows how well Thornton can play once he is over whatever ailment affected him in the previous round?

Adrian Lewis

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Although Adrian Lewis still has some work to do to get to the last 16, he shouldn't have a difficult time getting the job done against Vincent van der Voort. In the 28 times that the two have played, Lewis has come out on top on 19 occasions.

Coming into the tournament, he was no doubt one of the favorites, with his No. 3 ranking in PDC's Order of Merit. He didn't have any trouble in the opening round against Dennis Smith, winning 3-0.

Sometimes you see the favorites slip in the early rounds as they try to find that groove (see Taylor, Phil). However, Lewis has wasted little time in staking his claim as a major contender in this tournament.

Simon Whitlock

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All you have to do is look at Simon Whitlock, and you'll know that he's one of the biggest characters in darts. With his tattoos, hair and massive goatee, he isn't afraid to be a little unique, which has helped him to gain a nice following.

Of course, it helps that he's one of the best players in the world.

Whitlock has a great chance of making it to the last 16. He has beaten his opponent Jarkko Komula both times that they have faced off by a combined score of 12-3.

With Taylor out of the way, the "Wizard of Oz" could be on a yellow brick road to the title.

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