Whitlock marches into semi finals
Reigning Ladbrokes World Darts Champion Adrian Lewis held off a thrilling Terry Jenkins fightback to reach the semi-finals of the £1 million tournament as Simon Whitlock knocked out Gary Anderson at Alexandra Palace on Friday night.
Lewis looked on course to storm into the semis when he powered to the first three sets with a brilliant opening to the match, taking nine out of 11 legs.
Jenkins, though, won the fourth set and kick-started his fightback by coming from 2-0 down in the fifth, winning six straight legs to level the game.
Lewis won a crucial seventh set 3-1 and then came from a leg down in the next to seal victory and set up a semi-final with world number three James Wade on Sunday.
"I took the 3-0 lead and thought I was going to win 5-0, but Terry came back brilliantly," said Lewis. "Every dart I threw for a while in those three sets was on the wire and Terry put me under pressure. "As soon as I'm under pressure, I fire, and I'm in the semi-finals now. Wadey's got a good record against me but I'm ready for a battle."
2010 runner-up Whitlock, meanwhile, set up a semi-final against Andy Hamilton with his 5-1 win over last year's beaten finalist Gary Anderson, who had been the favourite with sponsors Ladbrokes going into the quarter-finals.
The Scot took the game's first set but would win only seven more legs in the match as Whitlock took five successive sets to storm to victory, continuing to defy the discomfort of his recovering broken ankle.
"I'm over the moon," said Whitlock. "Gary missed a lot of doubles which made it easier for me, but I concentrated on my darts and enjoyed the game.
"I fully believe I can win this World Championship, even with a broken leg! I actually think it's helped me because my concentration levels are higher and I'm going slower and trying to make every dart count."
Left-hander Wade had earlier won his second World Championship semi-final place with victory over Canadian ace John Part in a sudden-death thriller.
Part hit back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3, before Wade levelled and forced a decider which went all the way to an 11th leg which the world number three took with a fine 14-darter.
Hamilton powered to a 5-1 win over Belgium's Kim Huybrechts in the other quarter-final, hitting 11 180s, three ton-plus finishes and averaging over 102.
Lewis is now the 13/8 favourite to lift the £200,000 title on January 2, with Whitlock 9/4, Wade rated at 5/2 and Hamilton the 6/1 outsider in his bid for a first major title.
Ladbrokes World Darts Championship
Friday December 30
Andy Hamilton 5-2 Kim Huybrechts
John Part 4-5 James Wade
Simon Whitlock 5-1 Gary Anderson
Adrian Lewis 5-3 Terry Jenkins
Sunday January 1 (7.30pm)
Andy Hamilton v Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Best of 11 sets
SIMON WHITLOCK 5-1 GARY ANDERSON
(1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 3-0, 3-2)
SIMON WHITLOCK reached the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship with a fine 5-1 victory against Gary Anderson.
Whitlock had come into the tournament unfancied to make an impact after spending almost two months sidelined ahead of the event with a broken ankle sustained at the end of October.
However, he produced another determined effort to see off Anderson, who won the first set of the match but missed 29 darts at doubles as Whitlock claimed the next five sets to win the match.
"I've got belief in myself at the moment, and I'm not letting my ankle problem be a handicap to me," said Whitlock, who is looking to play in his second World Championship final in the space of three years.
"I think Gary struggled with the pace of the game a little because I was having take more time with my throw, because of the injury.
"Gary missed a lot of doubles which made it easier for me, but I concentrated on my darts and enjoyed the game. I fully believe I can win this World Championship now."
Anderson hit a maximum in the process of taking the first leg of the match before Whitlock levelled by taking the second on double top.
The Premier League Darts champion, who defeated Colin Lloyd in the third round, hit a 151 checkout to take the third leg and landed double five in the next to establish an early advantage.
Whitlock, who was taken to a final set by Michael van Gerwen in his third round match, hit double 18 to take the opening leg of set two, and after both players traded 180s in the next he took out a fabulous 121 checkout, finishing on the bullseye.
Anderson broke his opponent's throw in the third leg, by landing double top with his third dart, and then won the fourth in 13 darts.
Whitlock held advantage of throw in the deciding leg, and he made that count with an accurate attempt at double four to take the set and level the match.
The start of set three saw Anderson miss five chances to win the first leg, but Whitlock missed four of his own to allow him to return and hit double one.
Whitlock landed double top to take the second leg in 13 darts, and the third also fell the way of the Australian as he took out 74 after Anderson wasted five darts at doubles.
Anderson missed a dart at the bullseye in the fourth leg, and Whitlock landed double eight to seal the set and lead the match 2-1.
Whitlock hit two maximums in the process of taking the first leg of the fourth set, and then landed double 16 with his first dart to take the second.
Anderson broke back with a 14-dart finish to win the third, and then hit double top to win the fourth leg, before Whitlock kicked-off the fifth with a 180.
That maximum pushed the 2010 runner-up to a finish first, and he hit double seven to take the set and move two clear of Anderson.
Whitlock capitalised on two more missed darts at doubles from his opponent to make a winning start to the fifth set, before Anderson hit a 177 at the start of the second leg.
The Scot was again first to a finish, but a missed dart at double top was punished by Whitlock, courtesy of an 81 finish.
That put the Australian in command of the set, and an accurate attempt at double ten in the third leg put Whitlock 4-1 ahead with a second 14-darter against the throw to leave him a set away from the semi-finals.
Anderson took the opening two legs of the sixth set with finishes of 68 and 76, before Whitlock hit another 14-dart finish to take the third.
The fourth leg saw Anderson off-target with five chances to win the set, and Whitlock hit double two with his third dart to level.
Anderson hit a 180 in the fifth leg, but a missed dart at tops proved expensive as Whitlock landed double eight to secure the match.
Whitlock now meets Andy Hamilton in the semi-finals, having lost 17-15 to the Stoke ace in the World Matchplay quarter-finals in July when his opponent won nine successive legs to come from 15-8 down to take victory.
"Andy Hamilton will be a tough opponent in the semi-finals," added Whitlock. "He's playing some fantastic darts at the moment, and he seems to thrive under pressure.
"I don't want to get in a close match with him because Andy is one of the best players when it gets in a tight match, as he's shown in the last few matches here.
"I want to get revenge for that but it's nice to see him playing well because he's a fantastic player and a really good friend as well."
Anderson admitted: "I was miles off and deserved to get beaten. I wasn't good enough on the night and I'll put it behind me now and move on to next year."
ADRIAN LEWIS 5-3 TERRY JENKINS
(3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 1-3, 2-3, 0-3, 3-1, 3-1)
ADRIAN LEWIS remains on course to defend his Ladbrokes World Darts Championship title after overcoming the challenge of Terry Jenkins with a 5-3 quarter-final victory at Alexandra Palace.
Lewis romped into a three-set lead and lost just two legs in the process before Jenkins fought back to win three of his own to leave the match finely balanced.
However, Lewis managed to win six of the next eight legs to end Jenkins hopes of claiming a first major title and progress to a semi-final with number three seed James Wade.
"I had to dig really deep to pull that off," admitted Lewis. "I lost my way during the middle of the match, but I pulled myself together and got the job done, which I'm delighted with.
"Terry came back brilliantly and every dart I threw for a while in those three sets was on the wire. Terry put me under pressure but, as soon as I'm under pressure, I fire."
Lewis, who enjoyed a straight-sets victory against Wayne Jones in the last 16, started the match in excellent fashion by taking first two legs with finishes of 89 and 101.
Jenkins managed to win the third leg on double top, after Lewis missed the bullseye for the set, but the Stoke star made no mistake in the next leg as he recorded a 71 finish to take first blood.
The second set began with Jenkins hitting double top, before Lewis left a chance of hitting a nine-dart finish after kicking-off the second with back-to-back 180s.
His hopes of achieving that feat for the second time in as many years at Alexandra Palace where ended when his seventh attempt at the treble 20 was off-target, but he posted double four to win the leg and then broke throw for a 2-1 lead.
Lewis added another maximum in the fourth leg, and secured the set by landing double ten to move 2-0 up.
The defending champion's high standard continued into the third set as he hit a 13-dart finish to take the first leg, followed a clinical 76 checkout in the second.
Lewis then hit double 18 to win the third set without reply, and took out an 87 finish for a 12-darter to claim his sixth leg in a row at the start of the fourth.
Jenkins stopped the rot with a 117 finish to win just his third leg of the match, and the Ledbury man then recorded a 14-darter in the next.
Lewis was off-target with a dart at bullseye to take the fourth leg and Jenkins managed to hit double five to reduce the match score to 3-1.
Lewis won the opening two legs of set five, which included a 136 in the second to break his opponent's throw with another 12-darter.
Lewis also hit a 180 in the third leg, but a missed dart at double top for the set, allowing Jenkins to step in on double 12.
Jenkins then hit double 15 to win the fourth leg against the darts, and he took the decider by hitting double ten to edge closer to Lewis at 3-2.
He then made a positive start to set six by taking the first leg, after Lewis was off-target with two darts at doubles.
The tenth seed hit double top at the first time of asking to take his fifth leg in a row, and then won the set in style with a two-dart 100 checkout to level the match.
The seventh set started in sensational fashion, as players kicked-off with 180s, and Lewis managed to take the opening leg on double five to end Jenkins' run of six winning legs.
Jenkins won the second in 13 darts, but missed a chance to break throw in the third as he missed a dart at tops for 104 checkout.
Lewis hit double ten to win the leg and then took out double eight at the first time of asking to take the set and lead 4-3, after Jenkins crucially missed three darts at double top to force a deciding leg.
Jenkins won the first leg of the eighth set, courtesy of accurate dart at double ten after Lewis missed two chances for a break of throw on tops.
Lewis regained his range on tops to win the next two leg, and when Jenkins missed four chances to force a deciding leg, the reigning champion made him pay by finishing 90 with a bullseye-double top combination to seal victory in style.
Lewis, who now faces James Wade for a place in the final, added: "James has a very good record against me, but he has never won a World Championship and I have, so that gives me the advantage."
Jenkins said: "Adrian started off like a train and there wasn't much I could do.
"I wasn't playing that badly and when I got back to three-each he was gone, but then I couldn't find that treble 20. He started to crumble but I couldn't make it count and if I'd have played a steady game he might not have come back.
"I'm a bit disappointed about losing it now and I feel I had my chances. I've had a good tournament, my form's come back and I feel confident that I can be dangerous next year."