Simon Whitlock believes things are coming together nicely in his pursuit of the Ladbrokes World Championship title, after another brilliant performance saw him progress to quarter-finals.
The Wizard cruised through the first two rounds, despite trying to recover from a broken ankle, but it wasn’t all plain sailing in his victory over Michael van Gerwen.
Whitlock said: “I feel pretty good about my overall performance but I was lucky to go three nil up. Michael played brilliantly to come back and I had to hit some big shots to win the match.”
The world number five hammered in twelve 180’s and posted another quality success rate on his doubles to book his place in the last eight, but the ‘beard to be feared’ is not feeling the pressure of being the tournament’s star player.
He said: “I don’t really feel like there is any pressure on me because of my injury, even though I don’t feel it when I’m playing. I felt like a came alive in that game. In the first round I was sort of just playing from memory and posted a really good average, but I didn’t feel like I was there. I felt a bit better in the next match and I’m playing some really good darts now.”
Whitlock set up a potential quarter-final showdown with tournament favourite Gary Anderson, but insists it doesn’t matter who he plays. He said: “I just go up there and play the board and, if I play like I can, I know I can win. I’m feeling good and playing well and looking forward to another good game.”
The Australian was runner-up at the Ally Pally two years ago and believes he has what it takes to go one better this time round. He said: “There are a few things I can improve but I’m happy with the way I’ve been playing. I’ll just take each game as it comes but I’m here to win it and there is no Phil Taylor to stop me this time.”
Whitlock will play his quarter-final tie in the first match of the Friday evening session.
By Chris Murphy