Aussie legend Simon Whitlock staged a sensational comeback winning the final three legs against James Wade to claim a semi-final berth in the Melbourne Darts Masters.
With the crowd stomping the floor and banging their chairs in support of the Aussie champ, Whitlock survived two match darts by Wade with the score at nine legs to eight in their quarter-final at Hinsense Arena.
The roar was thunderous as Whitlock opened the deciding leg and reeled off six perfect darts before taking out 33 on double 16 to seal the win.
Visibly shaking as he left the stage, Whitlock raced to embrace his son and let out a roar of delight.
“I can’t believe it. The crowd never gets behind me,” he said as he walked to the post-match interview room.
“That was incredible. The noise the crowd getting right behind me. They got me home.”
Whitlock said he was shaking with excitement on stage and had to compose himself before closing out the match.
“I decided not to worry about the nine darter and just concentrate on closing it out, but I still was shaking with the excitement from the buzz,” he said.
“The crowd were amazing, I want to say a massive thank you them because they helped pull me through that one,
“I’ve been due a bit of luck for a while now and I got it tonight, James should have won but sometimes in life you get a bit of luck and tonight I took my chance.”
It was Wade who started the brighter of the pair, breaking in the first leg of the match.
The Australian then took out 130 on the bullseye to get his name on the board, with Wade sat on 32, waiting to go 3-0 up.
Another ton-plus finish followed for Whitlock as he took out 108 on double 16, before ‘The Wizard’ took the lead for the first time in the match in the ninth leg with a 128 checkout.
The pair traded breaks until, with the score at 9-8, Wade missed two darts at tops to book his place in the semi-finals before Whitlock found double four to level.
Whitlock will now face Phil Taylor as he recovered from 9-7 down overcome Corey Cadby, as the pair continued their World Series rivalry.
Taylor who had been beaten in the Aukland Darts Masters by Cadby a week earlier began by taking a 3-1 lead over his Australian opponent.
An incredible sequence of seven breaks in the next eight legs followed to take the score to 6-5 in Cadby’s favour, with the 22-year-old taking out 121 on the bull in the eleventh leg.
Taylor followed that with a big checkout of his own, finishing 117 on tops to hold his throw and make the score 7-6.
Three holds of throw followed to take Cadby to within a leg of the match, which seemed to ignite the Taylor fightback.
The 16-time World Champion hit maximums in each of the next three legs, to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters.
“He’s a cracking little player, and after last week I needed to get my own back,
“I think this boy could be the next Michael van Gerwen, he’s the future.
“I’m relaxed and enjoying myself so there’s no reason why I can’t win here. We’ll just take it one game at a time and see what happens.”
Peter Wright needed a deciding leg to overcome Michael Smith in their quarter-final encounter.
Wright, started the 19th leg with a maximum and remained in control, before finding tops to secure his spot in the last four.
Irishman Daryl Gurney defeated Gary Anderson for the third successive time to progress to the semi-finals.
Gurney won 10-8 in the only game which didn’t go right down to the wire and will meet Wright in the semi-finals.
The Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters ends on Sunday with the two semi-finals taking place before the winner is eventually settled in the decider.