Whitlock: “I just put Michael out of the picture and pretended I was playing local darts”
Last Updated: 22/07/20 11:26am
Simon Whitlock admitted he took “full advantage” of Michael van Gerwen’s poor form to cause a major shock at the PDC World Matchplay Darts in Milton Keynes on Tuesday.
The Australian, seeded 16th in the behind-closed-doors tournament in Milton Keynes, produced one of the best displays of his career to thrash the two-time winner 11-4 as the Dutchman failed to make it past round two for a third successive year.
Van Gerwen was well below his best, converting just four of 24 double attempts, but Whitlock made him pay in style, racing into a 5-0 lead and never looking back to claim his first win over the world No 1 since 2016.
The Wizard of Oz will have an eye on the title as Van Gerwen follows fellow top four seeds Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross out of tournament.
He is the best player on the planet but he had an off-day today and I took advantage of it.
“I don’t know what to say, I have been practising well, I have been playing well, it just goes to show what I can actually do,” said Whitlock.
“I have been playing online tournaments, I was very confident going into the match.
“At the moment, it is one of the best performances. Michael didn’t play his normal match, I know that, but I took full advantage of his poor form today.
“He is the best player on the planet but he had an off-day today and I took advantage of it. I just put Michael out of the picture and pretended I was playing local darts.”
Whitlock will face Gary Anderson in the last 16, after the Scot ran out an 11-8 victory over James Wade in the battle of the former World Matchplay champions.
“I believed in myself and that’s the only way to do it. If you play the player you will put yourself in trouble,” added Whitlock.
“Experience counts for that, and along with a love for the game, that’s what keeps us older players going.”
Darts returns to Sky Sports, with nine days of coverage from the World Matchplay every day until the final on Sunday, July 26. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts.