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.
For tickets, call the Citywest Hotel Box Office on 00353 (0)1 401 0505 or buy in person at the venue - tickets are still available for Thursday's quarter-finals, Friday's semi-finals and Saturday's final.
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Unibet World Grand Prix
Wednesday October 5
Alan Norris 2-3 Simon Whitlock
Brendan Dolan 1-3 Dave Chisnall
Steve West 0-3 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 James Wilson
Best of five sets, best of five legs per set. All games must begin and end with a double.
Alan Norris v Simon Whitlock
0-1 - A break of throw for Whitlock as he takes out 65 on double ten.
0-2 - A 180 and a 177 followed by double six doubles the advantage for Whitlock.
0-3 - 140, 140, 150 out to wrap the set up for Simon Whitlock.
0-1 - Whitlock takes out 65 on tops for his fourth consecutive leg.
1-1 - 60 on tops levels the set.
1-2 - Double four moves Whitlock to within a leg of the set.
1-3 - Norris misses darts to level and is punished by Whitlock, who hits tops.
1-0 - Norris holds throw as he takes out 106 on double 16.
1-1 - 52 on double ten as he levels the set.
2-1 - A 180 followed by 102 on tops edges Norris ahead in the set.
3-1 - Norris takes the set as he takes out 57 on tops
0-1 - Double 16 for Whitlock as he holds throw.
1-1 - Norris levels the set on double ten.
2-1 - Norris breaks the Whitlock throw as he takes out 55 on tops.
3-1 - Set secured as Norris hits tops.
0-1 - An early break in the decider for Whitlock as he takes out 80 on tops.
1-1 - Norris breaks back on double 16.
2-1 - 60 on tops moves Norris one away from the quarter-final.
2-2 - 150 out for Whitlock takes us to a decider.
2-3 - A ten dart leg seals the win for Simon Whitlock!
Simon Whitlock Video Interview
|Alan Norris||2-3||Simon Whitlock|
|3||Breaks of Throw||5|
|20/39 51%||Starting Doubles||20/42 48%|
|9/22 41%||Finishing Doubles||11/20 55%|
Brendan Dolan v Dave Chisnall
0-1 - A break of throw for Chisnall as he hits double ten.
0-2 - Tops for Chisnall to move 2-0 up.
0-3 - Set wrapped up for Chisnall as he hits double four.
1-0 - Dolan on the board as he hits double two.
1-1 - Double four for Chisnall as he levels the set.
1-2 - Double 12 for Chisnall as he moves ahead.
2-2 - Dolan levels the set as he hits double eight.
2-3 - Chisnall takes the second on double 20 for a 52 checkout.
1-0 - Double eight for Dolan as he opens the set with a hold.
1-1 - Chisnall's turn to hit double eight as he levels the set.
2-1 - 141 on double twelve moves Dolan within one of the set.
2-2 - 65 on tops for Chisnall.
3-2 - Dolan takes the third set checking out 52 on tops.
0-1 - Chisnall holds throw as he takes out 122 on double 7.
1-1 - Chisnall misses darts for the break allowing Dolan to move in and take out 52 on tops.
1-2 - 80 on double ten for Chisnall to move one away from the victory.
2-2 - Level again as Dolan hits double eight.
2-3 - A maximum followed by 60 on tops confirms Dave Chisnall's place in the quarter-finals.
Dave Chisnall Video Interview
|Brendan Dolan||1-3||Dave Chisnall|
|1||Breaks of Throw||3|
|18/42 43%||Starting Doubles||18/39 46%|
|7/15 47%||Finishing Doubles||11/28 39%|
Steve West v Daryl Gurney
0-1 - Gurney in to the lead as he holds on double eight.
1-1 - 80 on double ten for West to level.
1-2 - Double eight for Gurney to hold again.
2-2 - 20 on double ten for West to hold.
2-3 - Gurney takes the opening set as he takes out 58 on tops.
1-0 - 106 on double 16 for West to hold throw.
1-1 - 88 on double 14 levels the score for Gurney.
2-1 - 121 on the bull as West moves one away from the set.
2-2 - Gurney takes out 56 on tops to level the set.
2-3 - Gurney breaks to take the set as he hits double eight.
0-1 - Gurney takes out 16 on double eight to hold throw.
1-1 - West levels the set on tops.
1-2 - One away for Gurney as he hits double 16.
2-2 - 104 on tops for West to keep the game going.
2-3 - Gurney moves into the quarter-finals as he hits double 16.
Daryl Gurney Video Interview
|Steve West||0-3||Daryl Gurney|
|0||Breaks of Throw||1|
|15/36 42%||Starting Doubles||15/29 52%|
|6/15 40%||Finishing Doubles||9/16 56%|
Michael van Gerwen v James Wilson
0-1 - What a start for Wilson as he takes out 156 with van Gerwen waiting on 40.
1-1 - Wilson misses the bull to break allowing van Gerwen to take out 96.
2-1 - van Gerwen breaks the throw as he takes out 52 on double eight.
3-1 - Michael van Gerwen seals the set on double ten.
1-0 - Wilson misses tops for a 160 finish and van Gerwen moves in to hit tops.
2-0 - Double four for van Gerwen as he breaks the Wilson throw.
3-0 - A 12-dart leg for van Gerwen as he wins his sixth straight leg and seals the second set.
0-1 - 52 on double 16 gives Wilson a hold of throw.
1-1 - 111 out for van Gerwen to level the set.
1-2 - James Wilson hits double 18 to move in to the lead in set three.
2-2 - van Gerwen one away from the win as he hits double six
3-2 - A maximum and double 16 books Michael van Gerwen a place in the quarter-finals.
Michael van Gerwen Video Interview
|Michael van Gerwen||3-0||James Wilson|
|3||Breaks of Throw||0|
|12/28 43%||Starting Doubles||12/36 33%|
|9/16 56%||Finishing Doubles||3/6 50%|