sport

Magical Barney wallops Wizard

Raymond van Barneveld defeated Simon Whitlock 5-1 to reach the last four of the PDC World Darts Championship on Friday night.

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.

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 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."