TEN-DART HERO WHITLOCK SETS UP VAN GERWEN CLASH

SIMON WHITLOCK has set his sights on claiming a second major title after producing a stunning ten-darter to defeat Alan Norris in a deciding leg and set up a Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-final against Michael van Gerwen.

Australian ace Whitlock, who picked up the European Championship title in 2012, has dropped out of the world's top 16 over the past 18 months in a disappointing run of form.

However, the 47-year-old marked his return to form by winning a Players Championship last weekend, and is aiming to take the £100,000 first prize in Saturday's World Grand Prix final following an incredible win over Norris.

Norris hit back from two sets down to level a thrilling contest, before taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth set.

However, Whitlock followed a 180 with his second 150 checkout of the game as he forced a sudden-death deciding leg, which he won with a brilliant ten-darter to book a last eight spot.

"I knew I had to do something special in that last leg and I produced it," said Whitlock, who now meets world number one van Gerwen in Thursday's quarter-finals.

"Alan played brilliantly to come back and I had to play like I did in that last couple of legs. He started to hit double tops and put pressure on me, but I never gave up at any moment, even when it looked like I was going to lose.

"I've dug myself out of a hole a couple of times recently and I'm proud of myself. I'm very confident at the moment and I'm playing great, I've just won a tournament so hopefully I can do back-to-back.

"I'm as good as anybody at the moment - I've beaten Michael lately and won a tournament at the weekend and I'm playing great, so everybody's got to look out for me.

"In the last two years I've put so much work in and finally now it's paying off. I'm a lot more relaxed at the moment, I've got no pressure on me and no-one's expecting me to do well except myself, and that's the way I like it."
Van Gerwen, meanwhile, powered past James Wilson in straight sets to continue his challenge for a third World Grand Prix title.

Wilson kicked off the game with a 156 checkout before van Gerwen took the next six without reply, and the Dutchman then came from two legs down in the third to complete the win.

"I think I did really well and I'm happy with my performance," said van Gerwen. "I fell asleep a little bit in the last set but I did the right things at the right time.

"It's a performance I can build on for the next round, but I'm playing well and feeling good. Simon's a good player but I need to look to myself and make sure I do the right things at the right moments."

Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney reached only his second major ranking quarter-final as he swept past Steve West in straight sets to set up a tie with Dave Chisnall.

West had caused a sensation by knocking out 11-time World Grand Prix champion Phil Taylor on Monday night, but was unable to repeat the heroics as Gurney - who is still recovering from a broken bone in his throwing hand - edged all three sets in a deciding leg.

"I'm happy with the win but I know I'll probably have to improve a lot to beat Dave Chisnall," said Gurney. "My scoring was fine tonight but I'm trying my best with every single dart I throw.

"I've only been back playing since last Tuesday so I'm surprising myself with everything I'm doing. I'm trying not to rush myself and I'm trying to concentrate as much as I can on every throw."

Share
0
PRINT

TEN-DART HERO WHITLOCK SETS UP VAN GERWEN CLASH IN UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX

SIMON WHITLOCK has set his sights on claiming a second major title after producing a stunning ten-darter to defeat Alan Norris in a deciding leg and set up a Unibet World Grand Prix quarter-final against Michael van Gerwen.

Australian ace Whitlock, who picked up the European Championship title in 2012, has dropped out of the world's top 16 over the past 18 months in a disappointing run of form.

However, the 47-year-old marked his return to form by winning a Players Championship last weekend, and is aiming to take the £100,000 first prize in Saturday's World Grand Prix final following an incredible win over Norris.

Norris hit back from two sets down to level a thrilling contest, before taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth set.

However, Whitlock followed a 180 with his second 150 checkout of the game as he forced a sudden-death deciding leg, which he won with a brilliant ten-darter to book a last eight spot.

"I knew I had to do something special in that last leg and I produced it," said Whitlock, who now meets world number one van Gerwen in Thursday's quarter-finals.

"Alan played brilliantly to come back and I had to play like I did in that last couple of legs. He started to hit double tops and put pressure on me, but I never gave up at any moment, even when it looked like I was going to lose.

"I've dug myself out of a hole a couple of times recently and I'm proud of myself. I'm very confident at the moment and I'm playing great, I've just won a tournament so hopefully I can do back-to-back.

"I'm as good as anybody at the moment - I've beaten Michael lately and won a tournament at the weekend and I'm playing great, so everybody's got to look out for me.

"In the last two years I've put so much work in and finally now it's paying off. I'm a lot more relaxed at the moment, I've got no pressure on me and no-one's expecting me to do well except myself, and that's the way I like it."

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, powered past James Wilson in straight sets to continue his challenge for a third World Grand Prix title.

Wilson kicked off the game with a 156 checkout before van Gerwen took the next six without reply, and the Dutchman then came from two legs down in the third to complete the win.

"I think I did really well and I'm happy with my performance," said van Gerwen. "I fell asleep a little bit in the last set but I did the right things at the right time.

"It's a performance I can build on for the next round, but I'm playing well and feeling good. Simon's a good player but I need to look to myself and make sure I do the right things at the right moments."

Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney reached only his second major ranking quarter-final as he swept past Steve West in straight sets to set up a tie with Dave Chisnall.

West had caused a sensation by knocking out 11-time World Grand Prix champion Phil Taylor on Monday night, but was unable to repeat the heroics as Gurney - who is still recovering from a broken bone in his throwing hand - edged all three sets in a deciding leg.

"I'm happy with the win but I know I'll probably have to improve a lot to beat Dave Chisnall," said Gurney. "My scoring was fine tonight but I'm trying my best with every single dart I throw.

"I've only been back playing since last Tuesday so I'm surprising myself with everything I'm doing. I'm trying not to rush myself and I'm trying to concentrate as much as I can on every throw."

2013 finalist Chisnall continued his challenge to win a maiden major title with a 3-1 win over 2011 runner-up Brendan Dolan, who took out a 141 finish as he claimed set three only to see the St Helens ace take the fourth in a decider for victory.

"I'm really happy," said Chisnall. "Brendan let me in a couple of times early on and I took my chances, but it was tough.

"I'm pleased with the game but I need to play a little bit better, and I need to tighten up in the middle of legs. I got a little bit nervy towards the end and was pulling a few darts.

"I'll take every game as it comes and we'll see what happens - I'm aiming to do better than I did three years ago and win it this time."

The quarter-finals also see World Champion Gary Anderson up against Belgium's Kim Huybrechts and the all-Dutch clash between five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and 23-year-old emerging star Benito van de Pas.