Magical Whitlock into the semi-finals
Dave Allen, the PDC's media officer, rounds-up the action from the first two quarter-finals of the 2010 PDC World Darts Championship which saw wins for Simon Whitlock and Mark Webster. The image is courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC.
SIMON WHITLOCK produced the performance of his life to dump world number three James Wade from the PDC World Darts Championship on Friday afternoon, and is joined in the semi-finals by Mark Webster.
Whitlock booked his semi-final place with a sensational 5-3 win over Wade, hitting the second highest average of the tournament at 105.37 as well as landing 15 maximums and a 170 checkout.
The Australian took the opening six legs without reply, including a brace of 122 checkouts, at an average of 117 to leave Wade reeling, and also led 3-1 before the left-hander took the next two sets to level the game.
But Whitlock held his nerve to hit finishes of 170 and 150 in taking the seventh set without reply, and took the next in the same manner to seal a sensational victory.
"It's the greatest win of my career," said Whitlock. "I've beaten Phil Taylor before but this beats that because it was the hardest game of my life.
"I was so focused and knew I had to play my best, and I had to throw that average to win. I've been putting in so much practice for this tournament and it's paying off.
"My whole life's changed with this whole tournament and I'm lost for words. I've picked up a sponsor and can move to the UK now and play on the PDC circuit full-time, which has been a dream of mine."
Whitlock is joined in the semis by Mark Webster - the left-hander who defeated him in the 2008 Lakeside Final - after the Welshman's 5-3 defeat of Co Stompe.
Webster took the first four sets to assume command of the game before Dutch star Stompe found his range to win three in a row and threaten a miracle comeback.
Webster, though, remained composed and won the eighth set without reply to book a semi-final place in his first PDC World Championship, where he will meet either Phil Taylor or Adrian Lewis.
"I'm really proud of what I've achieved this week, but there's two more games to go," said Webster. "Whether I play Phil or Adrian I've got a hard task ahead of me, but bring it on.
"My last two games are my best two on TV, and I'm really confident. When Co was 4-0 down he had nothing to lose and started hitting everything.
"He made me nervous and I just wanted to get the game over with, and I managed to do that."
Taylor and Lewis will clash in an eagerly-awaited quarter-final in the evening session, which will follow the meeting of world number two Raymond van Barneveld and in-form Ronnie Baxter.
2010 PDC World Darts Championship
Mark Webster 5-3 Co Stompe
Simon Whitlock 5-3 James Wade
Evening Session (7.30pm)
Raymond van Barneveld v Ronnie Baxter
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
Best of nine legs
MARK WEBSTER 5-3 CO STOMPE
(3-0, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 1-3, 1-3, 2-3, 3-0)
MARK WEBSTER continued his dream debut at Alexandra Palace to reach the PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals with a 5-3 triumph over Co Stompe.
The Welshman appeared to be cruising after winning the first four sets, but Stompe hit back to win three in a row before Webster sealed the match in the eighth.
Webster came out all guns blazing, winning the first two legs of the match with checkouts of 118 and 136 and returned after four missed doubles to take out double 14 for the first set and an early advantage.
Webster kept up the pace in the second set, winning the first leg in 14 darts and following that with a two-dart 76 finish.
Stompe managed to win his first leg of the contest in the next after Webster missed opportunities to seal the set, but the former Lakeisde cChampion made no mistake in the fourth, which included his second maximum of the game to confirm a two-set lead.
A 13-dart finish gave Webster the opening leg of the third set and he won the second with an 84 checkout.
Stompe hit a 13 darter of his own to win just his second leg of the match, but then missed a dart at double top in the fourth which allowed Webster the opportunity of moving 3-0 ahead, and he took it by hitting double ten with his final dart.
The Dutchman, who defeated former finalist Mark Dudbridge in the third round, won the first leg of the fourth set but Webster replied to win the second with a 75 finish. The left-hander won the third leg against the darts and established a four-set lead with a 94 checkout to move closer to a semi-final place.
Stompe hit a 13-dart finish to make a winning start to the fifth set but lost the second after missing a host of opportunities at doubles.
The 47-year-old Dutchman led again by converting an 81 finish, with Webster waiting on 40, and then won the fourth leg to seal the set.
Stompe won the first leg of the sixth and then broke throw to win the second before Webster hit a fabulous 130 checkout to take the third, only to then miss four darts at double top to keep the set alive - and the Dutchman made him pay by hitting double 12 to reduce the deficit.
The first two legs of the seventh set were held with throw before Stompe secured the advantage with a break of throw in the third by hitting double nine, with his last dart.
Stompe hit his fifth 180 of the game in the fourth leg but missed four darts at double top for the set and Webster stepped up to hit double 16 and level.
The deciding leg was finely balanced but Stompe managed to hold throw by hitting double 16, with his opponent waiting on double top, to win the set and increase the pressure on Webster.
The eighth set began with Webster winning the first leg with an 82 finish, which was followed by a 71 checkout as he moved two legs ahead and closer to the winning line.
A maximum from the Welshman put him in command of the third leg and he double top to end Stompe's comeback and seal victory.
"When I was 4-0 up I just wanted to win the fifth set and get the match over with," said Webster, who now plays either Phil Taylor or Adrian Lewis.
"Whether I play Phil or Adrian in the semi-final I intend to enjoy to myself as I have nothing to lose. The last two games are my best two on TV, and I'm really confident."
Stompe admitted: "I gave him a run for his money - but it wasn't enough. Mark came out firing and played brilliantly to get 4-0 ahead and that was the deciding factor."
SIMON WHITLOCK 5-3 JAMES WADE
(3-0, 3-0, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, 2-3, 3-0, 3-0)
SIMON WHITLOCK produced the performance of his life to send James Wade crashing out of the 2010 PDC World Darts Championship with a 5-3 defeat in arguably the finest game seen on the Alexandra Palace stage.
The Australian recorded the second highest average of the tournament so far at 105.37, as well as landing 15 maximums and a 170 checkout in a superb display.
Whitlock had led 3-1 only for the number three seed to hit back and level the game - but the Cessnock-based thrower powered to the finishing line by winning six consecutive legs to seal a place in the semi-finals.
Whitlock produced an astonishing start to the match, winning the first leg with an 11-darter, a 122 checkout to take the second in 12 darts and the third in 14 to wrap up the first set in just 37 darts.
A brace of 14-dart finishes followed without Wade having a shot at a double, before he won a sixth successive leg with another 122 finish, which was converted by hitting treble 18, double 18 and double 16 to take a 2-0 lead.
Wade only had one attempt at a double at that stage but he managed to win his first leg of the game at the start of the third set, and traded maximums with Whitlock in a 13-darter to take the second.
Whitlock hit another 180 in the process of recording a 12-dart finish to win the third leg, but Wade landed double top in the next to win the set and get himself into the contest.
The Australian took an early advantage in the fourth set with a two-dart 87 finish before Wade won the second to level. Whitlock regained the lead with a 70 finish to win the third and then took the next by hitting double top to restore a two-set cushion.
Whitlock claimed the first leg of the fifth before Wade won a high-quality second leg after both players had hit maximums, while the third was a dramatic affair that was won by the left-hander on double six following misses from the Australian.
Whitlock, the 2008 Lakeside Championship runner-up, put that disappointment behind him to win the fourth leg, but Wade took the decider with a two-dart 98 checkout to seal the fifth set.
Wade hit a 12-dart finish to win the opening leg of the sixth before Whitlock landed the second with a fantastic 126 checkout on the bullseye.
Wade won the next leg after both players hit a 180, and the players repeated the trick in the fourth which was won by Whitlock after his opponent had missed a dart at bullseye to take the set.
The Aldershot man, who came through a tough third round match against Andy Hamilton, won the deciding leg by hitting double 10 to square the game at three apiece and threaten another comeback victory.
Whitlock, though, regained the lead by winning the seventh set in stunning fashion. He hit a wonderful 170 checkout to win the opening leg - the first of his career in a televised game - followed by 150 finish in the second leg, before taking out 50 to regain the advantage and move a set away from victory.
Whitlock secured a vital break of throw at the start of the eighth set after converting an 80 finish, and landed a 15th maximum of the game in taking the second.
And when Wade failed to leave a double in the next, twice hitting the wrong single number, Whitlock capitalised on double top to end an incredible match.
"That's probably the hardest match I've ever played in," revealed Whitlock. "I was really focused and knew that I had to play at my best.
"My whole life has changed through this one tournament and I have been able to gain a sponsor too and that will enable me to move to the UK and play on the PDC circuit full-time this year. I try to play the board and not the better and I have full belief in my ability."