Michael van Gerwen’s disappointing run of form continued as he was dumped out in the last 16 of the European Championship by an inspired Ian White in Oberhausen on Friday night.
The world No 1 is enduring his longest major drought since 2012, and he was comprehensively beaten 10-4 by an inspired White, who averaged 103.64, fired in seven maximums and converted 45% of his attempts at double to reach the quarter-finals of this event for the first time.
Van Gerwen was punished for squandering opportunities in the early stages of the contest, with White racing into a 5-0 lead. The Dutchman reduced the arrears to 7-4 as he threatened an unlikely comeback, only for White to defy a 101.95 average from MvG to claim the final three legs without reply.
However, following his defeat, the three-time world champion was involved in a frosty exchange with RTL7 reporter Arjan van der Giessen, who questioned the 31-year-old about the multitude of missed doubles in the opening exchanges.
“What a stupid question that is,” Van Gerwen claimed. “I threw almost a 102 average here and you are going to be critical here. Normally you are very soft and now you suddenly behave very differently, this is not you. It seems like you want to score points for the viewers.
”Of course I’m disappointed after losing this match. [Ian] White played a superb game, his best ever on television, that can happen. I have a good feeling about this match. If I had an average of 85 or 90 I could understand your critical attitude, but I just played a very good game myself.”
Van Gerwen has now failed to progress to a final in his last five major televised tournaments – his worst drought since 2012, and world champion Peter Wright is now the overwhelming tournament favourite, after defeating world No 2 Gerwyn Price 10-6 in a high-quality affair.
The pair were both averaging over 108 for large periods and despite a late rally from ‘The Iceman’, Wright held firm to prevail with a 102.70 average which sets up a last eight showdown against Steve West, who converted a clinical 106 kill to defeat Mensur Suljovic in a dramatic last-leg decider.
Ian White’s reward for defeating Van Gerwen is a clash against fourth seed Devon Petersen, who maintained his impressive form to topple Martijn Kleermaker. The Dutchman raced into a 4-1 lead, but ‘The African Warrior’ responded to triumph with a 101.09 average and seven maximums.
2018 champion James Wade remains in contention to land a tenth major televised crown after edging out Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall 10-8 in an entertaining affair and ‘The Machine’ will now take on William O’Connor, who brushed aside Jamie Hughes in emphatic style.
Elsewhere, World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode continued his fine form to claim the scalp of world No 4 Michael Smith in a topsy-turvy contest, and the enigmatic aubergine farmer now meets Jonny Clayton, who accounted for nine-dart hero Jose De Sousa in his last 16 tie.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2020 Unibet European Championship
König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen
Friday October 30
4x Second Round
William O’Connor 10-3 Jamie Hughes
Devon Petersen 10-8 Martijn Kleermaker
Jonny Clayton 10-6 Jose De Sousa
James Wade 10-8 Nathan Aspinall
4x Second Round
Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-8 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 10-6 Gerwyn Price
Ian White 10-4 Michael van Gerwen
Steve West 10-9 Mensur Suljovic
Saturday October 31 (2000 CET)
William O’Connor v James Wade
Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Peter Wright v Steve West
Devon Petersen v Ian White