Whitlock come back against gritty Wright

Whitlock come back against gritty Wright

20 July, 2011


Winmau’s SIMON WHITLOCK overcame the spirited challenge of colorful Peter Wright with a 10-7 victory as he booked his place in round two of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay.

Australian ace Whitlock, a semi-finalist on his Winter Gardens debut last year, set up a last 16 clash with Denis Ovens on Thursday night courtesy of a strong display against the improving ace from Lowestoft.

Wright, who previously competed in Blackpool at the 2009 World Matchplay and sported a multi-coloured hairstyle, produced darts to match Whitlock for much of the game and led 6-5 before the Australian took five of the final six legs for victory.

Both players hit 180s in the opening leg as Wright opened with a break of throw on double 18, but Whitlock hit back immediately on double five for a 14-darter and then hit a maximum to set up a 108 finish in leading 2-1.

Wright responded with a ton-plus finish of his own to square the match with a 123 checkout, only for Whitlock to win the fifth with a sparkling 12-dart leg which featured three 140s followed by an 81 checkout.

The next two were shared before Wright posted a 12-dart leg of his own in the eighth to level once more, hitting his first 180 of the game and a 116 finish.

Both players recorded maximums in the ninth, but when Wright missed the bullseye for a 91 finish Whitlock held throw on double 16 for a 5-4 lead.

Wright, though, wrestled himself in front for the first time since winning the game^s opening leg by hitting back-to-back 14-dart finishes as he took a 6-5 lead.

Whitlock won the 12th leg on double ten to square the game once more, and won the next in a leg which would prove pivotal, as Wright opened with seven treble 20s only to see his chance of a nine-darter slip away when he missed treble 19 for the 141 finish.

He then missed four darts to win the leg, and Whitlock landed double four to move 7-6 up.

The Australian was punished for five misses of his own in the next as Wright levelled but Whitlock was too strong with a 14-darter in moving 8-7 up before breaking throw on tops and taking out 60 to kill off the match.

"I^m very happy to get the win," said Whitlock. "Peter^s a fantastic player and that was a very tough game for me.

"He could have gone ahead near the end and I could never get the break to get away from him until the end of the match.

"I^ve got Denis Ovens next and I^ll approach that like any game. He^s a seasoned player but I^m feeling confident after this and playing well at the moment.

"I^ve had a really good year but my results haven^t reflected how well I^m playing. I^ve had six semi-finals but not reached a final, and although that^s not as good as last year I think I^m playing better but the overall standard has gone up incredibly."


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