Darts: Whitlock shows no mercy to Brantjes

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The Independent Online

Australia's Simon Whitlock maintained his impressive debut at the British Darts Organisation World Championship at Frimley Green last night by reaching the semi-finals with a 5-1 victory over the Dutch giant-killer Andre Brantjes.

Australia's Simon Whitlock maintained his impressive debut at the British Darts Organisation World Championship at Frimley Green last night by reaching the semi-finals with a 5-1 victory over the Dutch giant-killer Andre Brantjes.

The 35-year-old bricklayer has dropped just one set in each of his three victories so far and is emerging as a credible contender to emulate compatriot Tony David, who won the title in 2002.

This success was all the more meritorious as Brantjes, also making his first appearance in the Frimley Green event, had ousted his experienced countryman Co Stompe and third seed Mervyn King.

Whitlock never allowed his opponent to gain a foothold in the match, banging in maximum scores of 180 right from the off and he had raced into a 4-0 lead by the interval.

Brantjes briefly threatened a revival when the action resumed but Whitlock, wearing a pair of borrowed shoes as his own had given him blisters, closed it out with a double-top, on which he had been deadly.

"I threw some good darts tonight," said Whitlock, who certainly looks different to most players with his long Billy Connolly-style beard and ponytail.

"I'm absolutely delighted to get into the semi-finals because it means I'm guaranteed a place in the tournament next year and there's no reason why I can't go on and win this now."

Raymond van Barneveld, the top seed and three-time former title holder, is odds-on favourite to add to his 1998, 1999 and 2003 successes and he breezed into the semi-finals with a 5-0 win over compatriot Vincent van der Voort on Thursday. Van Barneveld has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

In order to reach tomorrow's final, Van Barneveld must overcome fifth seed Darryl Fitton, who also achieved a quarter-final whitewash against the Scottish qualifier Robert Thornton.

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