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Simon Whitlock displays on his resurgence forward of Grand Slam showdown with Michael van Gerwen | Darts News

Simon Whitlock is bidding to progress to the Grand Slam of Darts semi-finals for the primary time in his profession.

Michael van Gerwen seems to be a person on a mission on the Grand Slam of Darts, having relinquished simply six legs in reaching the quarter-finals, but the prospect of going through the world No 1 holds no fears for Simon Whitlock.

‘The Wizard’ has accounted for the Dutchman at this yr’s World Matchplay and World Grand Prix, and he’s assured of conjuring up extra magic to finish a exceptional hat-trick of main wins over the three-time world champion.

Prior to his complete 11-Four victory over Van Gerwen on the Matchplay, the amiable Aussie had misplaced his final 15 conferences in opposition to MVG – a report courting again to October 2016.

So what is the secret to his current success in opposition to the world’s premier participant?

“I think it’s just belief and confidence,” Whitlock advised the Darts Show podcast.

“I’ve been practising properly, I’ve been enjoying loads of on-line darts this yr so my sport is at a very good stage. I’m really pleased with my set-up, with my darts, which all goes in the direction of confidence.

“I’ve crushed Michael [van Gerwen] the final two instances on TV in huge majors so I’ve positively obtained the sport. It’s simply acting on the day. If I really feel good and every part clicks, then I can beat anyone.

Whitlock’s Matchplay success in opposition to ‘Mighty Mike’ generated loads of headlines, though his Grand Prix triumph was arguably extra spectacular.

“I haven’t finished playing the game. I am still as keen as ever – I still play pretty much three, four times a week.”

Whitlock on his ardour for the game…

The Australian was in impressed kind, turning into the primary participant exterior of Van Gerwen and Phil Taylor to put up a ton-plus common within the double-start occasion, over a greatest of 5 units format.

The two-time world finalist is embarking on his fourth Grand Slam quarter-final on Sunday night, however he has by no means progressed past the final eight in 10 appearances.

His three earlier quarter-final defeats got here in opposition to the trio of Phil Taylor, Scott Waites and Gerwyn Price – all three of whom went on to carry the title.

Whitlock is hoping that historical past would not repeat itself, however he’s relishing his newest dust-up with the 31-year-old – confessing that he prefers the lower and thrust of knockout darts, versus the unpredictable round-robin format.

“I don’t really like the format. I don’t like the round-robin stuff – that doesn’t really work for me,” admitted the previous European Champion.

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“It is not really in your hands sometimes but if you get through that then it is good, because you get to the longer game, the knockout, and I do enjoy that part of it.”

The elongated format does current difficulties although. Matches over the perfect of 31 legs are a take a look at of resilience ordinarily, however this job is compounded by the gamers’ present intensive schedules.

Despite topping Group B with most factors, the previous World Cup finalist was laboured in his 10-6 win over Adam Hunt on Friday, averaging a paltry 87 in a scrappy affair.

Since the World Cup of Darts obtained underway in Salzburg on November 6, Whitlock has solely had three days with out enjoying aggressive darts, and he concedes it’s steadily taking its toll.

“This is tough. Coming back from Austria we only had one hour’s sleep and then I had to qualify that day as well which was really tough, but I’m really happy about that because I qualified and I’m in the last eight,” he added.

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Simon Whitlock beat Adam Hunt 10-6 to achieve the final eight on the Grand Slam.

Simon Whitlock beat Adam Hunt 10-6 to achieve the final eight on the Grand Slam.

“I struggled the final two matches however I believe that is simply because I’ve performed an excessive amount of. I simply want a very good relaxation. My physique is getting older.

“I’m most likely the oldest participant nonetheless within the match. It is difficult work. Hopefully, I’m going to come back out firing and I’ll really feel actual good.”

It is a testomony to Whitlock’s insatiable ardour for the game that he’s thriving underneath such testing circumstances.

Australia’s most profitable darting import is the elder statesman throughout the world’s high 20, however he’s proving that age is only a quantity with a stirring resurgence over current months.

The 51-year-old has reached three main rating quarter-finals this time period – a report matched solely by World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and Van Gerwen himself.

Sunday’s Quarter Finals – Afternoon session

Michael Smith vs Jose De Sousa
Damon Heta vs James Wade

Sunday’s Quarter Finals – Evening session

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen vs Simon Whitlock

He shouldn’t be the one Australian making waves although. His World Cup companion Damon Heta is thru to the quarter-finals on his Grand Slam debut, with two Australians set to star within the final eight of a serious match for the primary time since October 2017.

The pair flourished in tandem on the World Cup earlier than succumbing to eventual champions Wales, and Whitlock lauded reward on his fellow countryman, who takes on James Wade for a spot in Monday’s semi-finals.

“It’s nice. I did not hardly know Damon [Heta] earlier than he came to visit right here however we’ve obtained to change into fairly good mates so far as I’m involved.

“He is a fantastic player. It’s just good to have another Aussie over here doing well.”

Whitlock’s focus is firmly on his personal fortunes, nonetheless. He is bidding to carry simply his second main PDC title and given his consistency during the last decade, he could possibly be forgiven for feeling his exploits have merited higher reward.

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Whitlock thrashed Van Gerwen 3-Zero within the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, of their final aggressive assembly

Whitlock thrashed Van Gerwen 3-Zero within the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, of their final aggressive assembly

‘The Wizard’ has reached a number of main finals since claiming his solitary televised PDC title in 2013 – succumbing to James Wade and Daryl Gurney in European Championship and World Grand Prix finals respectively.

This could have deflated many professionals getting into the twilight of their profession, however it has merely strengthened the need of Whitlock, who insists he has obtained unfinished enterprise as he bids to log out the season in type.

“I need to win all of them. I need to do properly in all of them. Rankings are vital and in addition profitable cash is vital.

“I believe it’s [passion] simply within you. I have never completed enjoying the sport. I’m nonetheless as eager as ever – I nonetheless play just about three, 4 instances per week.

“You are never finished I think – not unless you are a world champion, then you can think I’ve got to the peak of the game and now I can rest up a little bit.”

Don’t miss a dart from the Grand Slam of Darts on Sky Sports because the motion continues on Sunday with all 4 quarter-finals – be part of us from 1pm and 7pm on Sky Sports Arena and observe us @SkySportsDarts for updates and clips all through the match.

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