Simon Whitlock won a final leg decision to kick Michael van Gerwen out of the Grand Slam of Darts amid a barrage of 180s and eight missed match darts from the world’s number one.
On a day with 121 of 124 possible legs, it was the last of the night in the final quarterfinals of the day that produced notable drama when Van Gerwen missed eight match darts and Whitlock stuck the doubles with eight set a sensational run against the Number 1 in the world.
Whitlock set a new Grand Slam record of 20 highs as he pulled back from the sidelines and won the last three legs to hit the last four and end Van Gerwen’s offer for a fourth Grand Slam crown – just as he had finished hoping for the Dutchman’s World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
For the past four years, the magician has met Jose De Sousa, who shocked Michael Smith in another thriller. James Wade, who dropped Damon Heta, will face Dimitri Van den Bergh in the other semifinals, who cleared Nathan Aspinall in the last leg.
Simon Whitlock booked a place in a first Grand Slam semi-final with an amazing 16:15 win over Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen appeared to be making it into the final four for the fifth straight year as he opened a three-leg lead in the middle of the competition and defied a spectacular max hit display from The Wizard to stay ahead.
But Whitlock has been taking inspiration from MVG lately, and it was again when he retired back into the competition between 12pm and 12pm before Van Gerwen spent the years with a timely 146 finish for a 15: 13-lead rolled back at completing the Aussie’s challenge.
Van Gerwen didn’t find another dart in doubles, however, missing three to win 16-13, and then missing five to win the decider that Whitlock threw himself into to conjure a win that would put him in the best position to add another major to his 2012 European Championship.
Whitlock faces tournament debutant De Sousa to underpin his win against MVG. He will reflect on missed opportunities that will bring him only one TV title this season – the UK Open in March.
Jose De Sousa continued his dream debut at the Grand Slam with an exciting 16:14 win over Michael Smith and reached a semi-final showdown with Whitlock.
De Sousa got off to a quick start in the biggest game of his career, made a violent comeback, then held the nerve of leaving Smith frustrated and still waiting for a first TV title while the dream for ‘The Special One’ stays alive. .
The couple shot 22 highs and missed 64 darts in doubles in a seesaw competition that started the quarter-finals on Sunday. Missing darts from Smith in the last two legs gave De Sousa the biggest win of his career so far.
Jose De Sousa is the first debutant to reach the Grand Slam semi-finals since Mark Walsh in 2011.
The Portuguese pitcher had never competed this distance before but thanks to Smith’s early doubles and surprisingly taking the 180-point lead, he took an 8-2 lead to be halfway to the finish line.
After Smith was 10 years old. It took Leg to find his first max he put his foot down and a barrage of 180s started his comeback with a blistered five-leg break that involved two legs that hit six arrows twice on the way Nine-dart finish.
Smith first scored 10-9 on the front lines when he was 19. Leg took against De Sousa’s throw, but in De Sousa’s favor he refused to wither and fell back.
When the pair split the next eight legs, including the first three-digit ending of the game Smith landed, it was practically a best-of-three competition, and when Smith missed the odds, The Special One scored a memorable win.
Dimitri Van den Bergh continued his winning run against Nathan Aspinall, but only after a decider in the last leg gave him a date with James Wade in the last four.
The Belgian has had a breathtaking year and culminated in his first major title at the World Matchplay in July, a tournament he started with a success in the first round over The Asp.
After beating world number 6 in the group stage this week, he has scored a third high-profile win against the same opponent in recent months. He remains on track for another big title, ending The Asp dreams less than 24 hours after ending Gerwyn Price’s reign.
Aspinall was the first to strike and break a 12-dart throw with a score of 3-1. This was the first of eight consecutive breaks where Van den Bergh was within one but Aspinall could easily have had four out of five legs clear.
Instead, Van den Bergh was supposed to be tied on the first throw since the third leg, but the Belgian was 10 points below his tournament average and Aspinall wanted to take advantage of that.
The Stockport man dug deep into the depths to find the decisive breakout that seemed to have broken the spirit of the dream maker. A tripod put him 9: 6 ahead and screamed « wake up » when he took over the second of them.
Van den Bergh is a significant champion and has proven all of these qualities to create a stunning breakout on his own. Finishing 110 and 130 were the highlights of a run that put him 10-7 down and 14-12 in the lead.
An upside-down encounter had a drama to offer when Aspinall claimed the next three legs in 13, 18 and 14 darts to get into one of the first Grand Slam semifinals. But Van den Bergh showed his own demeanor up to the first level and then left 36 after 12 arrows against the throw in the decider, pinning his favor double 18 to secure a place in the last four.
It took James Wade every ounce of experience to beat debutant Damon Heta with a 16-13 win, in which both men took three big finishes, averaging more than 100 for much of the game and more than 50 percent of theirs Arrows in double.
In the end, it was ‘The Machine’ who held his nerve and halted Heta’s relentless comeback by winning the last three legs of the game to seal a semi-final showdown with Van den Bergh
Heta played in his first big quarter-final on television and showed his inexperience early on when Wade hit the first four legs without allowing the Australian a double arrow. After Heta was in fifth on the board, she grew into the competition and put in the second session to keep in touch as both players found the outer ring with reckless efficiency in a compelling competition.
Wade turned out to be a tough man for Heta. The results of 152 and 101 underlined the confidence of The Machine, before he was again four points ahead of 10: 6 after a break in throwing.
Instead of ducking, Heta took on the challenge, winning four of the next five legs and shooting 100 hits in a row to get in 11-10 within one, as close as they have been for the entire game.
Heta scored a class 101 finish on 13 points to end the match for the first time, but Wade was unfazed and called for the next three legs to keep his title hopes alive.
Wade got close twice at the Grand Slam and is an avowed admirer of the longer format. An average of 101 underlined his credentials when he hit the last four for the first time since 2016 and only for the second time in the past 10 years.
Don’t miss any darts from the Grand Slam of Darts at Sky Sports as the action continues on Monday with all four quarter-finals. Join us at 7pm on the Sky Sports Mix and follow us on @SkySportsDarts for updates and clips during the tournament.
© 2020 Sky UK
Darts, Grand Slam of Darts, Michael van Gerwen, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson
World News – GB – Grand Slam of Darts 2020: Simon Whitlock stuns Michael van Gerwen reached the semi-finals
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