Aussie number one Whitlock celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Simon Whitlock crushed the hopes of the returning Corey Cadby with a 6-4 victory in their First Round clash at the 2018 Melbourne Masters on Friday, as Damon Heta dumped out Kyle Anderson.
Cadby was making his first competitive appearance since reaching the final of the UK Open back in March but fell short to his Aussie rival at the Hisense Arena.
The opening two legs were shared against the throw, and after Cadby had landed double eight to lead, Whitlock replied with a tremendous 137 checkout on two double tops.
Whitlock then punished four missed darts at doubles from the youngster to hit the front before taking out 79 to extend his lead to 4-2.
Cadby hit back with tops before seizing upon two missed doubles from Whitlock to level the contest but only to then miss two at a finish himself in the next leg to allow ‘The Wizard’ to hit double ten for 5-4.
Whitlock then posted double eight to clinch victory and was quick to pay tribute to his young compatriot.
“I honestly believe Corey is the most talented player to ever come out of Australia,” said Whitlock. “The kid is phenomenal.
“It’s really good to get another win against him and that gives me confidence for my match against Michael [Van Gerwen] tomorrow.”
Michael van Gerwen averaged 112.61 and hit six 180s on his way to booking a spot in the last eight as he thrashed Raymond Smith 6-1.
The world number one was imperious throughout and put an abrupt halt to Smith’s PDC televised debut winning five of the last six legs to seal the win.
Smith, who will make his debut at the World Championship in December, did miss a dart to level at 2-2 but Van Gerwen was far too strong for his opponent on the opening day of action.
“The scoring was great but 180s don’t win you matches so my finishing pleased me as well tonight,” said Van Gerwen.
“I didn’t really know what to expect from Raymond so I made sure I didn’t make many mistakes and now we move on to tomorrow.”
Kyle Anderson was the only PDC player representative not to make the last eight in Melbourne as his best friend and old school mate Damon Heta took the spoils in a deciding leg.
The pair, who had played darts as juniors together as well as sharing time at school, played out a scrappy encounter with Heta surviving a match-dart to book a show-down with Gary Anderson.
“It’s a great present to share the stage with one of my best friends and to beat him was great,” said Heta who was celebrating his 31st birthday.
“Kyle and I have known each other for ages and used to spend so much time with each other playing darts and having fun.
“We’ve always talked about playing each other on the big stage and today that dream came true.”
World Matchplay champion Anderson averaged 109 on his way to a 6-2 defeat of James Bailey.
The two-time World Champion also converted 50 per cent of his shots at doubles to round off an incredibly impressive performance.
Anderson had looked like getting close to breaking the highest World Series average of 118.21 (set by Michael van Gerwen in 2014) as he raced in to a 5-0 lead, however some sloppy visits cost the Scot a chance at the record.
“That felt good today,” admitted Anderson. “I was getting shots for 12 and 13-dart legs most of the time so I knew the average was good for most of the game.
“James was obviously a bit nervous today and I understand that but the quality of these guys is getting better each year and it’s really great to see.
“We saw in Auckland how close the qualifiers are coming so you have to concentrate and play well.”
Last week’s Auckland Masters runner-up Raymond van Barneveld overcame Ray O’Donnell 6-4 despite missing 21 darts at doubles.
The five-time World Champion stared slowly, trailing the Australian 3-1 before winning five of the next six legs to secure the win with an average of just 82.8.
Van Barneveld will face Peter Wright next after the 2017 UK Open Champion hit all six of his attempts at doubles in whitewashing Mike Bonser.
The Scot hit two maximums during the match but spoke of his disappointment with his scoring after the win.
“The finishing was obviously perfect but I couldn’t find the scoring as well as I would have liked,” said Wright.
“I need to hit more 180s against Raymond tomorrow but if I finish like that again I reckon I should be ok.”
Michael Smith will return for the second day of action after a convincing 6-2 win over Tim Pusey, in which the former World Youth Champion hit 60% of his attempts at doubles.
Smith, who was beaten in the opening round in Auckland a week earlier, was keen to make amends for the poor performance that cost him in New Zealand.
“My preparation killed me last week but that’s no excuse,” revealed Smith. “I’m not the sort to try and come up with reasons as to why I lost. He hit six doubles and I hit four so he deserved to win last week.
“This time I felt a lot better and although it wasn’t my best performance I got the job done this time and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Rob Cross safely progressed in Melbourne after a routine 6-2 win over Haupai Puha.
The world number three, who has made the final of two World Series events this year, averaged 92.17 mainly due to some trouble on doubles but says there is plenty more to come as the tournament progresses.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I still think I have plenty of gears to go through, that’s for sure,” said Cross.
“I will have to put a show on and play better against Michael, I missed a lot of darts at doubles today when it probably didn’t matter because he wasn’t on a finish, so maybe a little bit more pressure might help me.
“I am happy to be through, get a good night’s sleep tonight and make sure I am ready for tomorrow,” concluded the 27-year-old.
Melbourne Masters 2018 Results
Friday August 10
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Ray O’Donnell
Michael Smith 6-2 Tim Pusey
Rob Cross 6-2 Haupai Puha
Gary Anderson 6-2 James Bailey
Peter Wright 6-0 Mike Bonser
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Raymond Smith
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Corey Cadby
Kyle Anderson 5-6 Damon Heta