World Grand Prix Day Four: Whitlock hits sixteen perfect darts to reach the last eight!

Simon Whitlock.jpg

Michael van Gerwen remains on course for a third World Grand Prix title after he whitewashed former BDO number one James Wilson, as Simon Whitlock, Dave Chisnall and Daryl Gurney all sealed their spots in the quarter-finals at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on Wednesday evening.

However, the performance of the night was delivered by world number one Michael van Gerwen, who averaged 97.17, landed three maximums and converted 56% of his finishing doubles to dismantle Wilson, who performed better than the scoreline indicates.

Wilson kicked off the contest in sumptuous style with a roof-raising 156 finish. He missed the bullseye to double his lead moments later, but van Gerwen fired back with a sensational 96 checkout, culminating with D18 and D20. This galvanised the Dutchman, who went to seal the first set with relative ease.

‘The Green Machine’ fired in scores of 180 and 177 in the opening leg of set two, but he almost lost the leg, as ‘Jammie Dodger’ missed tops for a 160 checkout. However, MvG pinned the same target to hold throw, before winning his fifth straight leg with a fine 14-darter.

The third leg was an extremely high-quality affair. Both men kicked of the leg with flawless 160 starts, registering five perfect darts in the process. However, the advantage of throw proved decisive for Van Gerwen, who converted 64 for a stunning 12-darter to establish a commanding two-set cushion.

Wilson held throw with a solid 15-darter to stop the rot, before a dramatic second leg ensued. MvG failed to pin a starting double with his first six darts and Wilson had a healthy cushion. However, the world number one quickly made inroads into that lead, firing in a 160, before converting a fine 111 finish for an unlikely hold.

The Huddersfield ace picked out D18 for a 14-darter to move within a leg of clinching the set. Nevertheless, ‘Mighty Mike’ upped the ante when it mattered most. He hit six perfect darts en route to levelling the set, before capitalising on an abject leg from Wilson to close out a comprehensive straight sets triumph.

Van Gerwen will face Simon Whitlock in the last eight, after ‘The Wizard’ prevailed in a thrilling last-leg decider against Alan Norris in the opening match of the evening. The Australian averaged 89.44 and astonishingly hit 16 perfect darts to close out victory in a gripping final set.

Whitlock won the opening set in comprehensive fashion, averaging 112 in the process. He took out 65 on D10 to break throw in the opener, before following up visits of 180 and 177 by pinning D6 to double his advantage. The Australian then wrapped up the set with a stunning 150 finish, leaving Norris shell-shocked.

‘The Wizard’ doubled his lead in sets minutes later, as ‘Chuck’ was left to rue profligacy on the doubles. With the scores tied at 1-1 in set two, Norris spurned nine darts over the course of two legs and Whitlock gratefully capitalised to establish an emphatic cushion.

However, Norris showed tremendous fighting spirit and bounced back impressively. The former Lakeside finalist converted finishes of 106 and 102, before sealing the third set with a regulation 57 finish on tops.

Whitlock held throw at the beginning of the fourth set, but suddenly Norris began to find the measure of his preferred D20, and he subsequently reeled off three consecutive legs to restore parity and force a dramatic fifth and decisive set.

The pair traded breaks in the opening two legs of the final set, before Norris took out 60 on tops to move within a leg of the quarter-finals. ‘Chuck’ fired in his sixth maximum as he attempted to close in on victory, but out of nowhere, Whitlock produced a remarkable run of perfect darts.

The Australian responded to Norris’ maximum with a 180 of his own, before taking out 150 for the second time in the contest- to force a fifth and deciding leg. Norris had the darts, but Whitlock kicked off with a 152, fired in another maximum before taking out tops for a sublime 10-darter, to complete a stunning match-winning sequence of 16 perfect darts.

Elsewhere, Dave Chisnall came through a hard-fought battle against 2011 finalist Brendan Dolan to reach the quarter-finals. Chisnall, a Grand Prix finalist himself back in 2013, averaged 94.33 and fired in six maximums to overcome ‘The Historymaker’, who was unable to replicate the type of performance that saw him defeat Peter Wright on Monday.

Chisnall cruised to the opening set without reply by averaging 97. The second set was a much tighter affair, but the St Helen’s ace broke Dolan’s throw in the fifth leg of the set by pinning tops, with his opponent handily placed.

The world number ten appeared likely to close out a straight sets victory, but Dolan battled valiantly and registered a wonderful 141 finish to seize the initiative in set three. Chizzy forced a deciding leg in the set by converting a 65 kill on tops, but Dolan hit the same target to halve the deficit to 2-1.

The fourth set was a high quality affair. Chisnall kicked off the set in emphatic fashion, with a classy 122 finish culminating on D7, and despite missing darts to break in leg two, he responded by taking out 80 to move within a leg of the last eight.

Dolan forced another deciding leg in the set with a commanding 14-dart hold, but any hopes of a heroic fightback were unceremoniously quashed by the St Helen’s ace. Chisnall fired in his sixth maximum to seize control of the leg, before taking out 60 in two-darts to close out an impressive triumph.

Chisnall will face Daryl Gurney on Thursday evening, after ‘SuperChin’ cruised through to the quarter-finals with a straight sets victory over Phil Taylor’s conqueror, Steve West. It was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for West, who threw well in patches, hitting four maximums and taking out three-ton plus finishes.

The scoreline was rather harsh on West however. Although he failed to register a set, there was only the solitary break of throw in the entire contest. Both players averaged 86, but Gurney was ultimately superior in the decisive moments.

The Northern Irishman prevailed in a very tight opening set which saw all five legs go with throw. In set two, West hit finishes of 106 and 121 as he attempted to level up proceedings, but Gurney capitalised on a poor leg from the Englishman in the fifth and final leg of the set, securing the first break of throw in the contest to double his lead.

West spurned a golden opportunity to break Gurney’s throw in the opening leg of set three after missing five darts at double. The Waltham-Abbey ace continued to battle resiliently and converted a 104 checkout to force a third successive set decider, but Gurney utilised the advantage of throw by pinning D8 to close a relatively routine win.

Unibet World Grand Prix
Wednesday October 5 (7pm)
Second Round
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

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC


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