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

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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 dealing with 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.

Previous 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 document relationship again to October 2016.

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

“I believe it is simply perception and confidence,” Whitlock advised the Darts Present podcast.

“I have been practising effectively, I have been enjoying a whole lot of on-line darts this yr so my recreation 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 occasions on TV in massive majors so I’ve positively acquired the sport. It is simply acting on the day. If I really feel good and every little thing 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 have never completed enjoying the sport. I’m nonetheless as eager as ever – I nonetheless play just about three, 4 occasions per week.”

Whitlock on his ardour for the game…

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

The 2-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 Value – all three of whom went on to carry the title.

Whitlock is hoping that historical past does 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 do not actually just like the format. I do not just like the round-robin stuff – that does not actually work for me,” admitted the previous European Champion.

Reside Grand Slam of Darts

November 22, 2020, 1:00pm

Reside on

Reside Grand Slam of Darts

November 22, 2020, 7:00pm

Reside on

“It isn’t actually in your fingers typically however in case you get by means of that then it’s good, since you get to the longer recreation, the knockout, and I do get pleasure from that a part of it.”

The elongated format does current difficulties although. Matches over the most effective of 31 legs are a check of resilience ordinarily, however this activity is compounded by the gamers’ present intensive schedules.

Regardless of 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.

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

“That is powerful. Getting back from Austria we solely had one hour’s sleep after which I needed to qualify that day as effectively which was actually powerful, however I am actually blissful about that as a result of I certified and I am within the final eight,” he added.

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 superb relaxation. My physique is getting older.

“I am in all probability the oldest participant nonetheless within the event. It’s exhausting work. Hopefully, I will come out firing and I’ll really feel actual good.”

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

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

The 51-year-old has reached three main rating quarter-finals this time period – a document 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 – Night session

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

He isn’t the one Australian making waves although. His World Cup accomplice 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 significant event 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 is nice. I did not hardly know Damon [Heta] earlier than he came to visit right here however we have now acquired to change into fairly good buddies so far as I am involved.

“He’s a unbelievable participant. It is simply good to have one other Aussie over right here doing effectively.”

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

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

“I need to win all of them. I need to do effectively in all of them. Rankings are vital and likewise 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 occasions per week.

“You might be by no means completed I believe – not until you’re a world champion, then you may suppose I’ve acquired to the height of the sport and now I can relaxation up somewhat bit.”

Do not miss a dart from the Grand Slam of Darts on Sky Sports activities because the motion continues on Sunday with all 4 quarter-finals – be a part of us from 1pm and 7pm on Sky Sports activities Enviornment and comply with us @SkySportsDarts for updates and clips all through the event.


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