Michael Van Gerwen into World Matchplay quarter-finals with defeat of Ian White

Michael Van Gerwen into World Matchplay quarter-finals with defeat of Ian White
The Dutchman acknowledge he had ‘made it incredibly difficult for myself’ in the clash in Blackpool.

Michael Van Gerwen will face Nathan Aspinall in the World Matchplay quarter-finals after a hard-fought 11-8 win against Ian White.

Former world number one Van Gerwen stayed on course for his first tournament win of the year, but was pushed hard by White in their second-round clash at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

Van Gerwen threw for the match at 10-6, but missed double 10 and White, who defeated the Dutchman at the European Championship last autumn, then served up a 108-checkout to close the gap.

A 92-checkout put Van Gerwen 9-6 up after the pair had been locked at 5-5 and the third seed sealed victory with a 121-finish on the bull – but only after White had narrowly missed bull himself for a 161- checkout to snatch the leg.

Van Gerwen said in his post-match interview: “I made it incredibly difficult for myself. I missed six match darts before (hitting the final bull).

“I know there’s a lot more work to do, more to fight for and I know what I’m capable of. I always keep fighting and never give up.”

When asked about last-eight opponent Aspinall, three-time tournament winner Van Gerwen added: “Tough game for him! It’s going to be tough, but he fears me more than I fear him.”

Aspinall threw eight maximums as he edged out 2018 champion Gary Anderson 11-9 in a thrilling encounter.

Anderson battled back from 8-5 down and hit a brilliant 149-checkout to close the gap further at 8-9.

But Aspinall responded with a 117-finish to go 10-8 ahead and clinched a quarter-final place for the first time with a 96-checkout to avoid a tie-break.

Aspinall said in his post-match press conference: “I’m not here to make the numbers up, I’m here to win and if I can play like I did in the last nine or 10 legs then I’ll be hard to beat.”

Michael Smith came out on top in the first tie-break of the tournament, beating Portugal’s Jose de Sousa 13-11.

De Sousa led 10-8, but a match-winning chance eluded him and Smith hit a 72-finish to force extra time and while trailing 11-10 produced a 108-checkout before closing out the match.

In the evening’s final match, Peter Wright world champion in 2020, turned in an impressive display to comfortably beat Joe Cullen 11-5, averaging 105.46 to cruise into the last eight.

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