Simon Whitlock recorded a fifth consecutive win over Michael van Gerwen to reach the Quarter-Finals of the New South Wales Darts…
Simon Whitlock recorded a fifth consecutive win over Michael van Gerwen to reach the Quarter-Finals of the New South Wales Darts Masters on Friday.
The opening night of the inaugural World Series event in Wollongong saw home hero Whitlock steal the show, edging out Van Gerwen to become the solitary Oceanic representative to progress.
World Cup winner Whitlock, who defeated James Wade in Townsville last Friday, claimed another scalp on home soil as he knocked out last week’s Queensland Masters champion.
The pair traded six consecutive breaks of throw in a remarkable passage of play, with Whitlock surviving a match dart in the penultimate leg, converting an 88 finish to force a decider.
The 53-year-old, roared on by a bumper crowd at the WIN Entertainment Centre, took out 74 on double eight to complete another memorable triumph.
“That was super good. To beat Michael five times in a row is sensational,” said Whitlock, who defied a 101 average from the Dutchman.
“I was saying to myself: ‘You’re playing the best again now, so you have got to perform.’
“I had a little bit of luck, but I will take it. That was a hard-earned win, and it was all about belief.”
Michael Smith produced the stand-out performance of the opening night to oust Australian number one Damon Heta in a thrilling last-leg shoot-out.
Smith fired in six 180s and averaged 106.3 to inflict a second consecutive 6-5 defeat on Whitlock’s World Cup partner Heta, who also succumbed to Gerwyn Price in a deciding-leg clash in Townsville.
Despite Smith outscoring Heta for large periods, the first ten legs went with throw, but the pressure finally paid dividends as Smith crashed in a 12-darter in the decider to seal his spot in the Last Eight.
Price, runner-up in Queensland, stormed through to Saturday’s final stages with a whitewash win over Koha Kokiri, rattling in three 180s and firing in a brace of 11-dart legs to triumph with a 104.8 average.
“I was really slow out of the blocks in the first two legs,” reflected the world number one.
“I need to get out of those blocks a little bit quicker, but I’m playing well and my mind is in a good place.”
The Welshman will now take on Women’s World Matchplay champion Fallon Sherrock, after the 27-year-old edged out World Series debutant Mal Cuming to secure her first victory in Australia.
Sherrock struggled in the early exchanges, but a brilliant 12-darter in leg five sparked a run of three straight legs, and she kept her cool in the decider to prevail with a 16-dart hold.
James Wade also secured his first victory in this year’s roadshow Down Under with an impressive comeback victory over Gordon Mathers, a semi-finalist in Queensland last weekend.
The ten-time TV title winner trailed 3-2 following a stuttering start, only to reel off four consecutive legs in 15, 15, 12 and 15 darts; sealing his progression with a clinical 116 combination.
Wade will now meet top seed Dimitri Van den Bergh in the Quarter-Finals, after the Belgian began his bid for a third World Series title of 2022 with a 6-3 win over Australian qualifier Raymond O’Donnell.
Earlier in the night, Jonny Clayton eased past former World Cup quarter-finalist Haupai Puha to avenge his defeat against the New Zealander a week ago.
The reigning World Series Finals champion fired in back-to-back 13-darters midway through the tie, winning five straight legs to clinch an emphatic 6-1 swin.
Meanwhile, Joe Cullen defeated Dave Marland for the second straight week to confirm his place in Saturday’s latter stages, defying a spirited fightback from the DPA qualifier to complete a hard-fought 6-3 win.
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New South Wales Darts Masters 2022 Day One Results
Friday August 19
Joe Cullen 6-3 Dave Marland
James Wade 6-3 Gordon Mathers
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Haupai Puha
Fallon Sherrock 6-5 Mal Cuming
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Koha Kokiri
Michael Smith 6-5 Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen 5-6 Simon Whitlock
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Raymond O’Donnell
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