Simon Whitlock booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes World Championship, after he produced another classy performance to see off a spirited challenge from Michael van Gerwen.
Whitlock hit an incredible twelve 180’s and provided a master class in finishing to cement his status as the star performer in the tournament.
The former runner-up has every chance of going one better then his previous best performance at the Ally Pally, and his pursuit of the title will continue tomorrow.
The Wizard hit his first 180 in the opening leg before hitting double four to grab an early break of throw. He found the same bed to double his lead and then took out 62 to break again and win the first set.
Whitlock hit his second maximum in the first leg of the second set but was unable to prevent van Gerwen breaking his throw. Another 180 followed for the Australian as he broke back immediately. He then hit double top at the first attempt to edge in front, before hammering home a fourth maximum on his way to another break of throw. The Wizard hit double eight to increase his advantage to two sets.
The world number five broke van Gerwen’s throw again in the first leg of set three, and he doubled his lead by hitting double eight. Whitlock hit 180 number five in the next leg, before brilliantly taking out 112 to win another leg against the throw and take the third set.
Whitlock continued to finish at will as he took out 76 to go in front in the fourth set. His opponent then held his throw for the first time in the match. The Dutchman went on to break the throw in the next leg before taking out 53 to get a set on the board.
Van Gerwen held his throw in the first leg of set five. Whitlock replied with another 180 followed by an 81 checkout to draw level. He hit his ninth maximum in the next leg before hitting a fabulous 82 checkout for yet another break of throw. Mighty Mike managed to break back, hitting double twelve to stay in the match before holding his throw to pull a second set back.
The Wizard had his throw broken by the Dutchman, who then held to open up a two leg lead in the sixth set. Whitlock responded by taking his maximum count into double figures but van Gerwen broke his throw again to force a decider.
With van Gerwen throwing first in the final set, Whitlock showed his class under pressure by starting with another maximum before checking out 60 to wrestle back control of the match. The 2010 finalist then produced another leg of real quality, hitting another 180 followed by a marvellous 96 finish. The Wizard finished the job off with another clinical finish, taking out 52 to reach the last eight.
Whitlock will face the winner of tonight’s match between Gary Anderson and Colin Lloyd.
By Chris Murphy