Simon Whitlock refused to let his broken ankle derail his chances of winning the Ladbrokes World Championship with the performance of the tournament so far.
The Wizard may have limped onto the stage but hit the ground running at the Alexandra Palace with a three nil demolition of Dennis Smith.
The wounded Wizard put on a real magic show as he hit a 105 average to book his place in round two, dropping just one leg en route.
Whitlock began with a break, this time in darting terms, when he won the opening leg against the throw. He opened the second leg with back to back 180s on his way to doubling his early lead. Smiffy pulled a leg back with a twelve darter before Whitlock hit double top to wrap up the set.
The Wizard opened the second set with a fabulous eleven dart leg before breaking the throw to take control. He hit another maximum and almost took out a spectacular 164 finish on his way to winning the leg that claimed a second set.
Whitlock hit his fourth maximum before producing a stunning 125 checkout to break Smith’s throw in the first leg of set three. Another two maximums helped leave the Australian a leg away from victory as he hit a brilliant eleven darter. The Wizard hit three treble 19’s to set up a finish before hitting double top to break again, winning the set and the match in sensational style.
Whitlock’s performance, which included seven 180s and an incredible sixty percent checkout success rate, is sure to have put paid to any suggestion that he wasn’t ready for the tournament. He will face Steve Beaton on Wednesday 28th December.
By Chris Murphy