An emotional Simon Whitlock has set his sights on a first darts world title after surviving a huge scare to reach the world championships semi-finals.
The Australian fourth seed had to overcome his mental demons to hold off fast-finishing Englishman Ian White 5-4 in their quarter-final at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Leading 4-1 and coasting towards victory, Whitlock’s track record of letting big leads slip looked set to continue when 21st seed White fought back to 4-4 and edged ahead in a tense final set.
However the The Wizard pulled himself together when it mattered, seizing a late opportunity to move within one win of his second PDC World Championships final.
“I actually have a tear in my eye right now,” Whitlock said.
“I thought I’d lost that and I came up with some big darts at the end of the match.
“It means so much to me that match. I had to dig really deep and Ian played a fantastic game … I feel a bit lucky to win that match in the end.
“I’ve lost so many matches like that .. I’m thrilled to get one back finally.”
The 44-year-old will face 16th seed Peter Wright in the semis on Monday and The Wizard admits he has a huge opportunity to become Australia’s first darts world champion since Tony David in 2002.
Whitlock’s half of the draw was blown wide open by the shock second-round exit of 16-times world champion Phil Taylor, the man who defeated him in the 2010 final.
“It (winning a world title) would mean everything to me,” said Whitlock, a darts professional since 2002.
“I’ve got a big chance this year. I won’t be playing Phil in the final if I get there so let’s see what happens.”
Second-seeded Dutchman Michael van Gerwen looms as Whitlock’s biggest threat to the STG250,000 ($A464,000) prize, while third seed Adrian Lewis is also still alive on the other side of the draw ahead of the remaining quarter-finals.