World number six Peter ’One Dart’ Manley was sensationally knocked out of the PDC Ladbrokes.com world championships tonight by Australian wild card qualifier Simon Whitlock.
The 34-year-old from Brisbane, known as ’The Wizard’, produced the first major shock of the competition as he conjured up a magical performance to win the second-round match 4-1 and leave last year’s runner-up shellshocked.
Whitlock, who only qualified for this tournament by virtue of winning the Oceanic Masters, took the first set on the deciding rubber and did the same in the second despite Manley going out on 116 in the fourth leg.
The Aussie was showing tremendous accuracy on the doubles while Manley struggled to find the form that took him to last year’s final and Whitlock moved 3-0 ahead when he kept his cool to win another set that went the distance.
’The Wizard’ had a shot at double 20 to win the match in set four, but, for once, his accuracy let him down and Manley capitalised by stealing the set.
However, Whitlock was not to be denied and he wrapped up a fairytale victory by winning the next set without dropping a leg.
The Australian number one admitted he had been feeling confident before the game, thanks to the experience of having to play a first-round match when he beat Paul Williams on Friday.
He said: “I was very confident before the game. The first match was like a warm-up and I’d never experienced anything like that before so I knew I’d feel more comfortable in the second game.
“That was a big highlight in my career. The last four months I’ve won four big tournaments in Australia and just being here is absolutely fantastic. I never ever thought I’d be here.
“I’m over the moon, I couldn’t be any happier.”
And Whitlock predicted he had plenty more to offer this week in a competition he only decided to enter in September.
He added: “I’ve still got better to come – I can play better than that. I think I can go all the way to the final.
“It was only three months ago that I heard about the wild card and I thought I’d certainly give that a shot. I won that quite comfortably, nobody really got close to me.”
Chris Mason also reached the last 16 tonight with an impressive victory over Andy Jenkins.
Mason won the first set comfortably, but Jenkins then took the next two only for the Bristolian 34-year-old to level the match by winning the fourth in straight legs.
’Mase the Ace’ checked out on 106 in the first leg of set five and went on to win with a brilliant final leg before taking the sixth set in straight legs and signing off with a stunning 121 outshot.