Michael van Gerwen made the semi-finals of the BetVictor World Matchplay for the second year running as he came through a titanic struggle with Dave Chisnall 16-12 to set-up a showdown with Australian Simon Whitlock.
Current world champion and world No 1 van Gerwen hit four three-figured outshots, hit 55 percent of his doubles and averaged just over 102, but was still pushed right to the limit by an inspired Chisnall.
Chizzy took an early 3-0 lead, but neither player would have a bigger advantage from then until the end with them going toe-to-toe with big scores a plenty – Chisnall hit 10 180s himself but the Dutchman’s big finishing ended up proving to be the difference.
Van Gerwen took out 145 just to get his first leg on the board, and he followed it soon after with a 130, but Chisnall clawed his way back in with three legs on the spin to lead for the first time since the seventh leg at 10-9.
A 126 and a 129 from van Gerwen, both finished on the bull, turned the tables in his favour though, and in the final session he pulled away to secure his place back in the last four in Blackpool
“It was an amazing game, a very strange game as well,” said van Gerwen. “He took the lead then I came back very strong, after that I thought I was the better player in the game but then I lost three legs in a row when I thought I was throwing well.
“But I knew I had an extra gear to go into and I just did that at the end. But fair play to Dave Chisnall he always tries 100 percent and never gives anything away.
“I had a couple of good finishes at the right moments and I’m very happy about that. Now I get a couple of days off before playing Simon Whitlock. I’ve never won this one so I’d love to change that this year.”
Whitlock will do battle with van Gerwen for a place in the final after he came from 4-0 down to beat James Wade 16-10 in their quarter-final clash.
Wade flew out of the blocks to quickly take the first four legs, but Whitlock soon started to come back, just as he’d done in the last round following a similar slow start.
Whitlock won leg after leg against a stunned Wade, including one 126 finish, as he claimed nine out of the next ten legs played to lead 9-5.
2007 champion Wade could never get closer than three legs behind Whitlock as the Australian professionally marched his way into the semi-finals.
“I’m really proud of that, last year I would have probably lost that match, I’ve had some demons in my head but not this time and I’m thrilled with that,” said Whitlock.
“I was 4-0 down against Barney as well but it didn’t bother me because I knew I was playing well so I just backed myself to come good and I did. I was in the zone tonight, I played amazing and I’m just so happy.
"I want to win another major this year and I'm on course to do that, but I've got to take one game at a time. You've got to increase your game in every round and hopefully I can play a little bit better in the semi-finals, but my game is very good at the moment."