Michael van Gerwen continued his European Championship title defence with an imperious 10-1 win over Ian White, to set up a quarter-final showdown against Simon Whitlock, who produced a clinical display to whitewash a shell-shocked Alan Norris on a remarkable evening of darts in Hasselt on Friday evening.
However, Van Gerwen remains on course for a fourth successive European Championship crown after romping into the quarter-finals with a 10-1 thrashing against a helpless Ian White. ‘The Diamond’ averaged 99.25 but was unable to thwart a brilliant MvG, who reeled off eight successive legs to book his place in the last eight.
The world number one was thrashed 6-1 by White in their last competitive meeting, but he produced a sensational display to exact revenge. ‘The Green Machine’ averaged 105.41, piled in four maximums and converted 59% of his darts at double to condemn White to yet another second-round exit at the European Championship.
Van Gerwen made a blistering start; opening up with a visit of 174 before pegging tops for a 14-dart break of throw. He then doubled his lead with a sublime 12-darter, culminating in an unorthodox 81 finish (T3, D18, D18). White sank D10 to open his account, but this eventually proved to be a consolation for the Stoke star.
‘Mighty Mike’ crashed in his second maximum and found D8 for his second 12-darter to restore his two-leg lead, before he dispatched an effortless 64 kill to lead 4-1. White was then sat on tops poised to reduce the arrears to 4-2, but Van Gerwen piled in a painful 114 checkout, before producing a stunning 164 outshot to continue the procession.
The world champion then found D16 to move 7-1 ahead after White wired tops for a 118 finish, and ‘The Diamond’ was then ruthlessly punished for missing D12 in each of the next two legs, as Van Gerwen registered legs of 13 and 16 darts to move to the cusp of victory.
The second interval simply prolonged the agony for White, but Van Gerwen duly closed out victory moments later. The defending champion followed up visits of 139, 140 and 134 by effortlessly converting an 88 finish to round-off an emphatic triumph inside 12 darts, to set up a quarter-final clash against a resurgent Simon Whitlock.
Whitlock stormed into the quarter-finals with an incredible 10-0 whitewash win over a beleaguered Alan Norris, who endured a horror-show in Hasselt. ‘Chuck’ failed to convert any of his thirteen attempts at double and averaged just 85.67 as Whitlock capped off a clinical display to set up a last eight showdown with the world number one.
The 2012 champion enjoyed a blistering start to the contest; registering maximums in each of the opening two legs and completing 13 and 14-darters to lead 2-0. The Australian then punished four missed darts from Norris to extend his cushion on D10, before pegging a clinical 88 outshot to move 4-0 ahead.
‘The Wizard’ was producing some magic arrows and that continued in the fifth leg. He kicked off the leg with six perfect darts, following up a 171 with his third maximum, before completing a 14-dart break to head into the interval with a 5-0 cushion. Unfortunately for Norris, Whitlock’s dominance continued after the break.
The former world finalist sank D4 for his sixth straight leg, before conjuring up an exhibition 95 finish (S19, D19, D19) after Norris spurned four further darts at double to open his account. Chuck’s doubling woes continued in the next two legs, before ‘The Wizard’ rounded off a remarkable whitewash win with a 16-dart hold on tops.
Last year’s finalist Mensur Suljovic eased into the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 10-4 win over UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price. The Welshman boasted an incredible head-to-head record over the Austrian; having won seven of their eight previous meetings, but ‘The Gentle’ produced a professional performance to end his hoodoo against Price.
‘The Iceman’ drew first blood with D10, but squandered two darts to break in the following leg, as Suljovic levelled with a regulation 60 checkout. The Champions League of Darts winner then pegged a clinical 62 kill to break, before punishing further missed doubles from the Welshman to secure his third straight leg via D16.
Price was visibly frustrated with his missed doubles and Suljovic continued his clinical finishing to establish a 5-1 advantage, before rattling in an effortless 121 finish (Bull, T13, D16) to continue the procession. Suljovic then extended his winning sequence to seven legs via D2, before Price briefly roared into action.
The Welshman landed his first maximum and sank tops for a tidy 13-dart leg, before landing a brace of maximums in a high-quality tenth leg to reduce the arrears to 7-3 with a magnificent 11-darter. Nevertheless, the interval quashed his momentum and Suljovic regained total control moments later.
Price spurned four darts at double for his third straight leg and Suljovic capitalised by hitting his favoured D14 to stop the rot, before continuing his clinical finishing with a nerveless 78 outshot to move to within a leg of the quarter-finals.
The UK Open finalist piled in his fourth maximum and dispatched an unorthodox 86 kill (25, T19, D2) to register another leg, but this proved to be a mere consolation. Suljovic had the advantage of throw and made no mistake, following up just his second maximum with a sublime 11-dart leg to seal his progression in sumptuous style.
‘The Gentle’ will now meet his stablemate Kyle Anderson, who secured a quarter-final spot in Hasselt for the second consecutive year after recording a convincing 10-6 win over fifth seed Jelle Klaasen.
It was a case of missed opportunities for ‘The Cobra’, who hit just six of his 26 darts at double in an error-strewn display. Anderson wasn’t at his vintage best, but exploited Klaasen’s profligacy and fired in six maximums in a seven-leg spell to triumph with a 91.84 average, six 180’s and a 35% checkout conversion rate.
‘The Original’ won the opening two legs with successive 19-darters after Klaasen spurned six darts at double. The former Lakeside world champion then fired in a maximum as he aimed to open his account, but Anderson converted a fine 72 finish for 3-0.
Klaasen opened his account with a tidy 13-darter, but the Australian restored his three-leg cushion with a solid 15-dart hold on tops, before exploiting seven missed darts at double from the Dutchman to extend his lead. However, Klaasen fought back strongly; firing in consecutive 14-darters to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Anderson stopped the rot after following up his second maximum with a clinical 110 checkout, but Klaasen remained in contention by pegging a crucial 62 kill, after the Aussie ace had missed tops for a 160 outshot. However, as the Dutchman threatened to fight back, Anderson remained resilient.
The Auckland Darts Masters champion moved 7-4 ahead with a fine 13-darter, before defying a 14-darter from Klaasen to maintain his three-leg lead, after following up his fifth maximum by pinning D10. Jelle’s profligacy had cost him dearly in the opening exchanges, but his doubling woes resurfaced at the most inopportune moment.
Klaasen missed three clear darts to reduce the deficit to 8-6 and Anderson pounced to move to the cusp of victory. ‘The Cobra’ conjured up a classy 108 finish out of nowhere to preserve his hopes, but ‘The Original’ wasn’t to be denied; capitalising on further misses from the Dutchman to wrap up victory via tops.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Evening Session (8pm local time, 7pm UK time)
Jelle Klaasen 6-10 Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock 10-0 Alan Norris
Michael van Gerwen 10-1 Ian White
Mensur Suljovic 10-4 Gerwyn Price
Best of 19 legs