MVG powers on as Taylor toils continue
Michael van Gerwen won a fourth UK Open qualifier, and reached the final of another, while Phil Taylor’s form continued to suffer as he failed to make it past the quarter-final stages in both Wigan events at the weekend.
Simon Whitlock won the weekend’s first UK Open qualifier by beating MVG 6-1 in the final. The Aussie looked certain to be eliminated at the quarter-finals stage when 5-1 down to Ian White, but rallied to come back and win in a deciding leg before then defeating Peter Wright in the semis to book a final berth.
“This is one of the best wins I've ever had - I'm absolutely thrilled to bits," Whitlock told pdc.tv. "I had a bit of luck earlier on but I played really well in the final and I'm over the moon.
"At 5-1 down against Ian White you don't expect to win, but I somehow pulled one out of the bag and got there. You need a little bit of luck sometimes and I got that today, and I just rode with it.
"I played solid darts in the final and I was very composed, and I was on a mission to win today.”
Van Gerwen booked his place in Saturday’s final by beating Phil Taylor for the second time in 48 hours, this time at the quarter-finals stage, before defeating Gary Anderson in the semis.
The high-flying Dutchman then put the disappointment of Saturday’s final defeat behind him to go on and win Sunday’s crown, a fourth UK Open qualifying title, by defeating Kim Huybrechts 6-5 in a high-quality match.
“It feels so good to get another win," said van Gerwen on pdc.tv. "I'm very confident at the moment and that has a lot to do with it because I'm even winning bad games, and I'm doing very well at the moment.
"I made it a bit difficult in the final for myself with some poor scores at times and missing the two match darts, but to be the winner is the most important thing.
"I'm playing well and I'm happy with my form - in the semi-final against Michael Smith I threw some great darts. It was a fabulous game and I enjoyed it - but I still had to win the final and it was a very important win for me.
"I'm very proud of myself but I can still do better than this.”
Meanwhile, Taylor was a surprise third-round loser to PDC Youth Tour player Josh Payne. The Power went down 6-3 to complete a miserable weekend and continue the poor form that he has been showing in the Premier League.