The World Matchplay which is already devoid of champion Rob Cross as well as World No. 3 Gerwyn Price has now seen the exit of World Number 1 Michael van Gerwen. Simon Whitlock defeated World Number 1 which sent shockwaves through the darting world. The Aussie was in incredible form and capitalised on an out of sorts van Gerwen who averaged just 90 and missed 20 darts at the double. This is the third year in succession that the World Number 1 has failed to reach the Quarterfinals of the event.
Whitlock started the match with a 5 game winning streak and although the Dutchman pulled it back Whitlock won the match 11-4. This was his first victory over van Gerwen and has now blown the tournament wide open. Earlier in the night, Martin Aspinall became the fifth member of the top 16 to crash out of the tournament but Gary Anderson and Michael Smith were safely through to the Quarter Finals.
Van Gerwen has not enjoyed the tournament in the past after this run of three straight finals between 2005 and 2007. He ended up winning 2 of the 3 finals to cement his Number 1 status. Whitlock played some scintillating darts against his nemeses who before this outing had beaten him in 28 of the last 29 meetings. He will now face Gary Anderson in the Quarterfinals.
Whitlock started the match with a near 110 average that included two 13-darters to take the early initiative. Van Gerwen missed two easy doubles to allow Whitlock to take an early 5-0 lead. Whitlock missed 2 darts to take a 7-2 lead and van Gerwen cut the deficit to 6-3. That was as good as it got for van Gerwen as Whitlock rattled off 5 of the next 6 games to go on to beat the world number 1