Hammer knocks out Wizard
Hamilton battles back from 5-3 down to stun Whitlock
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: January 2, 2012 1:12am
Andy Hamilton: Through to maiden World Championship final
Andy Hamilton produced a magical fightback to book his place in the PDC World Championship final with a 6-5 victory over Simon Whitlock.
Hamilton, who overcame a Spaniard, a Dutchman, an Englishman and a Belgian to reach the last four, added Australian Whitlock to his list of victims with a stunning display at Alexandra Palace.
Leading 3-1 and then trailing 5-3, 'The Hammer' showed his mettle to battle back and win the deciding set 4-2, booking a final date with reigning champion Adrian Lewis.
Hamilton, who came into the match with the best three-dart average in the tournament, started superbly, breaking 2010 runner-up Whitlock in the second leg of the first set when 'The Wizard' was made to pay for missing two big numbers.
A 68 checkout saw the Stoke thrower take the first set in quick-fire time, however Whitlock settled in the second and levelled matters by holding throw three times in succession.
Hamilton continued to score heavily and took the following two sets to take a 3-1 lead into the second interval, though the break only served to kick Whitlock into gear.
A stunning 170 checkout was the mark of things to come as the 42-year-old from Down Under reeled off nine successive legs to burst 5-3 ahead.
The turning point in the match arguably came in the ninth set when a 130 checkout - Hamilton's highest of the night - kept him in the hunt and a successful shot at double 16 reduced the gap to 5-4.
The match continued to swing one way and the other but Hamilton's finishing under pressure was to prove critical, checkouts of 115 and 110 taking the match into a deciding set.
Both men held their opening throws with relative comfort and Whitlock then showed great bottle to hit double 16 with his final dart in the fourth leg with Hamilton poised on 60.
Pressure eventually told on the Aussie, though, and Hamilton raced clear in the sixth leg before sealing a famous win on double eight.
Speaking afterwards, Hamilton told Sky Sports: "I'm quite emotional, I'm speechless. Simon pushed me so hard, I had to take those checkouts out to win the game. He's an awesome player - and with a broken foot as well!
"There's one game left now and if I grit my teeth and fight, I could win it."
Whitlock added: "It was one of the closest games I've ever lost. Credit to Andy, good darts- I wish Andy the best of luck in the final."
Alluding to his ankle injury, he added: "I've had a fantastic tournament - and I wasn't even supposed to play."