Whitlock crashes out of world darts champs

Ian Chadband
·2-min read

Simon Whitlock's hopes of winning the world darts title will have to wait another year after Australia's No.1 crashed out of the championship.

The 51-year-old, who had felt he was in the form to go one better than his two previous appearances in a world final, was out of sorts in his third round match at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday as he was trounced 4-0 by Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski.

'The Wizard' seemed to be bereft of any magic from the start as he missed double after double against his rock-steady opponent.

Whitlock, who had started his 13th world championship so impressively with 10 maximum 180s against Lithuania's Darius Labanauskas, seemed to have lost all his momentum over the Christmas break.

"Too much Christmas dinner I think, well that's my excuse. Some things are meant to be and some things best left. I appreciate all your support this year and let's hope we all have a better 2021," Whitlock tweeted.

Whitlock actually outscored the 43-year-old Ratajski, averaging 93.69 to the Pole's 93.37, but he let himself down calamitously with his finishing as he missed 23 of 29 shots at doubles.

In contrast to Whitlock's 20.69 per cent checkout rate, Ratajski's was 34.29 per cent as he converted 12 of his 35 chances to earn a win that he could hardly credit was so straightforward.

"I didn't play so well but it's my first time in the fourth round and I'm very happy," said the 15th seed who is known in the game as 'The Polish Eagle'.

"I played many hours over Christmas because I had to stay in my hotel room (due to COVID-19 restrictions)."

The demise of 18th seed Whitlock ended the flimsy Australian challenge at the championship after Damon Heta, who had been seen as a potential dark horse for the title, James Bailey and Gordon Mathers all went out in the first round.

Whitlock's double trouble began from the first set, which he squandered three legs to one, and Ratajski dominated the second to take it by the same scoreline.

In the third set, Whitlock missed five darts while losing the first leg and another five while blowing the second.

He fought back to make the leg score 2-2 but looked dispirited after he missed another double top attempt which would have earned him a 120 checkout and the third set.

The match effectively looked beyond Whitlock as Ratajski took out double four to win the fourth set 3-2 and seal victory - and a spot in the last 16 against German Gabriel Clemens, who ended the title defence of Peter Wright.