Raymond van Barneveld reached the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam of Darts in wonderful fashion on Wednesday evening. The Dutchman fought back from a big deficit against Simon Whitlock in Wolverhampton to win the thrilling match 10-8.
53-year-old Whitlock started the game well. The Australian immediately won the match against Van Barneveld and, also thanks to a high average above one hundred, took the lead 5-2. ‘The Wizard’ managed to make it 6-2, but missed two arrows for double 20 and saw the leg go to Van Barneveld.
It marked the turning point in the game. Van Barneveld took a total of four straight legs and also missed chances to take a 7-5 lead. At 8-8 Van Barneveld crawled through the eye of the needle in his own leg. ‘Barney’ then secured victory with an arrow in the bull’s eye followed by a series of gleeful jumps.
Van Barneveld had already made a good impression in the group stage. The five-time world champion beat defending champion Gerwyn Price, Dave Chisnall and Ted Evetts. “I can finally enjoy myself again after so many years,” he said after his last group match.
The 55-year-old Van Barneveld, who won the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012, is in the quarterfinals of the PDC tournament for the first time since 2016. He will compete against the winner of the match between Danny Noppert and Price. They play later on Wednesday night.
Dirk van Duijvenbode will compete against Joe Cullen for a place in the last eight. On Thursday, Jermaine Wattimena (vs Nathan Aspinall) and Michael van Gerwen (vs Josh Rock) will hope to qualify for the quarterfinals.