Dave Chisnall pulled off an astonishing 5-0 whitewash of Michael van Gerwen in the Quarter-Finals of the World Darts Championship on New Year’s Day.
Chisnall had gone 27 games without a win over the world number one but stopped the rot in phenomenal fashion by becoming the first player to whitewash MVG at Alexandra Palace since Phil Taylor back in 2009.
The world number eight averaged 107.3 and landed 14 maximums in the most impressive performance of his career to move through to his first William Hill World Championship Semi-Final.
“I’m so proud. I’ve put the effort in and it’s paying off. I’m playing really well,” said Chisnall, whose last televised triumph over Van Gerwen came in the 2013 World Grand Prix.
“Michael wasn’t playing his best and I got frustrated that I let him into a few of the sets that went down to deciders, but I felt really comfortable and I deserved to win.
“Sometimes against Michael I can bottle it but that is the best I’ve ever played.
“I’ve been under the radar for the last few years but I want this World Championship title and I know I am playing well enough to win it.”
Van Gerwen took the first leg but only for Chisnall to produce a stunning burst, with an 11-darter and two 12-dart legs, to take the first set with an average of 112 – hitting a sublime 141 checkout along the way.
Chisnall made it five legs on the spin before eventually edging the second set 3-2 to double his lead.
A 114 checkout helped Chisnall extend his lead to three sets, taking the third in a decider despite a magnificent 150 checkout from Van Gerwen.
The St Helens ace missed double 12 for a nine-darter as he won the fourth set 3-1 to open up a 4-0 lead against the Dutch ace, who provided a bizarre but brilliant moment when he hit treble 20, treble 19 and then double 12 immediately after his opponent missed his attempt at the finish – despite the Dutchman not being on a checkout.
Chisnall was unfazed at the finish line and sealed the deal in style, taking out 130, 87, and 80 to take the fifth set 3-1 and book his place in the Last Four.
Reflecting on the defeat, Van Gerwen admitted: “It was difficult match. Dave took every opportunity he had and fair play to him but I let myself down a little bit.
“I didn’t turn up. My scoring power wasn’t there.
“All I can say is well done to Dave, it is the best he ever played. He played well and I didn’t. I can only blame myself.
“I need to reflect on my game and work out what went wrong. I’m gutted.”
Chisnall will take on Gary Anderson on Saturday after the two-time World Champion eased through to the Semi-Finals with a 5-1 rout of Dirk van Duijvenbode.
After losing the opener, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ reeled off five sets in a row to reach the penultimate phase at Ally Pally for the sixth time in his career.
Three 14-darters saw Van Duijvenbode take the first set 3-1, but Anderson then claimed ten legs in a row to move 3-1 ahead in sets and 2-0 up in the fifth.
That run ended after a brilliant 131 checkout, but the Scot still went on to win that set 3-1, before winning set six in a decider by landing tops after Van Duijvenbode’s parting shot of 180.
“That was good. I think I’ve played better as the tournament has gone on,” said Anderson, who averaged 101.
“Dirk’s a cracking player so I’m pleased to get through. I still made a few mistakes but I’m happy.
“I think that might have been the best I’ve played for a couple of years and once it gets to the last four, it’s anybody’s tournament to win.”
Third seed Gerwyn Price progressed to the Semi-Finals for the second successive year after a tense nine-set battle with Daryl Gurney, which went all the way to a sudden-death leg.
Price, who will become world number one if he wins the £500,000 top prize on Sunday, twice opened up two-set leads but Gurney fought back to force a decider, in which he failed to get a dart at a double from 108 and the Welsh ace held his nerve to advance.
“I bombed a couple of sets where I missed loads of doubles. I was very lucky,” admitted Price.
“At 4-2 up I had it in the bag but at four all I had to pull it out of the bag. I was up against it. I’ve certainly learned a big lesson tonight. I shouldn’t be complacent when I am 4-2 up.
“It must have been nerve-wracking for my wife and family to watch. Maybe I wanted it too much but I’m still in the tournament and I’m going to give it my all.”
Gurney opened the match with a 180 but finishes of 64 and 108 helped Price take the first set by three legs to one.
The Welshman doubled his lead by taking three unanswered legs in set two, but Gurney responded with checkouts of 73 and 75 to win the third set by two legs.
He then made it two sets apiece but was punished for missed doubles as Price landed a brilliant 143 checkout to win the fifth set 3-1 and regain the lead.
Gurney was again made to pay when he missed a dart at tops for the sixth set, as Price took out 72 to restore a two-set cushion.
The Northern Irishman refused to go quietly, though, and clinched six successive legs to take the match into a deciding set.
Price took out 107 in the decider, while Gurney replied with a 130 finish as the match went down a last-leg shoot-out, which the Welsh ace claimed by landing tops.
Stepehn Bunting sealed his place in the Semi-Finals for the first time after inflicting defeat on birthday boy Krzysztof Ratajski – who turned 44 on New Year’s Day.
An early burst saw Bunting take the first three sets, opening up a lead which proved to be unassailable for Poland’s number one.
Ratajski began the tie with a 104 checkout but Bunting won the next six legs, landing a 127 finish along the way.
The Polish star stopped the rot but couldn’t prevent Bunting extending his lead by winning the third set 3-2.
Ratajski managed to edge set four despite pressure from Bunting, who produced a brilliant 170 checkout to level up the following set before pinning double 16 to move within one of victory.
A 74 finish helped Ratajski reduce the deficit to two sets as he took the fourth 3-1, before a 124 checkout on the bull in set seven helped him close the gap to a single set at 4-3.
Bunting, however, avoided the prospect of a deciding set by winning the next three legs to earn a semi-final spot.
“This is the best win of my career. Getting to the semi-finals of the biggest tournament in the world is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’d love to win it,” said Bunting.
“It’s been a difficult run for me but I never give in, never say die and I’m dangerous. If I can keep my nerve I’ve got a great chance of winning it.”
The Semi-Finals take place on Saturday evening with Price’s battle against Bunting kicking off the action before Anderson faces Chisnall.
Friday January 1
Krzysztof Ratajski 3-5 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Gerwyn Price 5-4 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 0-5 Dave Chisnall