Masters Darts: Peter Wright suffers shock defeat to Simon Whitlock in Milton Keynes
Peter Wright's first TV appearance as a two-time world champion ended in defeat at the hands of Simon Whitlock in the second round of the Masters in Milton Keynes; Michael van Gerwen survives five match darts to stay on course for his sixth Masters title
Last Updated: 30/01/22 7:42am
Just 26 days on from winning his second World Championship, Peter Wright suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Simon Whitlock in the second round of the Masters on Saturday.
Whitlock, who stepped in to replace Danny Noppert, ended the hopes of Wright 10-8 as the Australian continued to make the most of his late call-up to the event.
He will return to the Marshall Arena for Sunday's final day of action, along with Saturday's seven other winners - who include reigning champion Jonny Clayton, world No 1 Gerwyn Price and five-time Masters winner Michael van Gerwen.
Whitlock produced a characteristically battling performance to spoil Wright's return to action as he reached his first Masters quarter-final since 2013.
Three consecutive legs saw the 52-year-old move within a leg of the match at 9-5, only for Wright to reply in kind to cut the gap to 9-8.
Despite a 180 from Wright in the following leg, Whitlock produced a 15-darter to get over the line.
"Peter has just won the World Championship, so it's obviously a big scalp to take," said Whitlock. "I got a bit panicky and nervous towards the end but thankfully I got it done.
"It's more relaxing knowing you shouldn't be in a tournament, I feel like there's no pressure on me."
Whitlock's quarter-final opponent will be Jose de Sousa, who enjoyed a return to form in Saturday's opening tie as he defeated Rob Cross 10-7 to become the first player to reach the quarter-finals.
Van Gerwen survived five match darts from Luke Humphries as he began his quest for a sixth Masters title in dramatic fashion.
A stunning burst from Humphries saw him win four legs in a row to move within a famous win at 9-7, but the debutant's five missed doubles in leg 18 proved costly.
Van Gerwen took advantage of Humphries' misses with a crucial last dart double ten for an 80 checkout to force a decider in which he outscored his opponent.
"Games like this are always tough," said Van Gerwen. "I was far from my best tonight, I struggled to get myself going.
"I was trying too hard, I don't know why. I made mistakes and you can only blame yourself. I have to do better tomorrow, simple as that."
Wales' top two Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton will meet in a mouth-watering quarter-final after seeing off Ryan Searle and Dimitri Van den Bergh respectively, while Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall will meet in an all-St Helens clash.
Saturday January 29
Jose de Sousa 10-7 Rob Cross
Joe Cullen 10-1 Gary Anderson
Michael Smith 10-6 Krzysztof Ratajski
Dave Chisnall 10-4 James Wade
Jonny Clayton 10-9 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price 10-8 Ryan Searle
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Luke Humphries
Sunday January 30
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith
Gerwyn Price v Jonny Clayton
Simon Whitlock v Jose de Sousa
Michael van Gerwen v Joe Cullen
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Price/Clayton v Chisnall/Smith
Whitlock/De Sousa v Van Gerwen/Cullen
Price/Clayton/Chisnall/Smith v Whitlock/De Sousa/Van Gerwen/Cullen
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs