PDC World Championship: Raymond van Barneveld cruises through to last four
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 29/12/12 7:02am
Raymond van Barneveld progressed to the semi-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship as he produced an awesome performance to thrash Simon Whitlock 5-1.
The Dutchman was at his fluent best as he simply overpowered his Australian opponent, firing in nine maximums and finishing with an average of 102.32.
"A couple of months I started believing in myself and thinking, 'Ray, you have a good life so just play your game, you know you can play well."
Raymond van Barnveld
Van Barneveld set the tone for a dominant display as he opened with a 13-darter to break in the opening leg. Whitlock responded with a 116 check-out to level, but van Barneveld took the next two to clinch the set.
A wonderful 135 checkout (bull, treble-15, tops) was the highlight of a one-sided second set as Barney moved further ahead, but Whitlock - who was by no means throwing badly - showed good character to take the third in the deciding leg, eventually hitting double-four.
But that was as good as things got for the Australian as van Barneveld found big shots when he needed them to remain in control, a check-out of 86, which included a bull finish, seeing him move 3-1 ahead.
The fifth set also went to a deciding leg, but van Barneveld chose the ideal time to deliver his seventh maximum and then found double-four under heavy pressure to deliver a real body-blow to his rival.
'Barney' then raced through the next set, an 11-darter moving him two legs clear before he found double-16 to close out the match and clinch only his second victory over Whitlock in their last nine meetings.
A delighted van Barneveld told Sky Sports afterwards: "Simon has a good record against me, but that was a different van Barneveld. A couple of months I started believing in myself and thinking, 'Ray, you have a good life so just play your game, you know you can play well'.
"Then I won the Grand Slam (of Darts) and from that point of view I started thinking, 'just play the board, don't play your opponents, play the board' and that's what I'm doing."
A magnanimous Whitlock added: "I threw everything at Raymond but I just wasn't good enough, he played absolutely brilliantly. I'm walking away with a smile on my face, I couldn't do much better."