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SIMON WHITLOCK defeated Paul Nicholson 6-1 in an all-Australian final to claim the Dutch Darts Masters title in Nuland on Sunday night as he secured his maiden European Tour triumph.

The world number six followed up last month^s European Championship victory in Germany with the triumph in Holland as he scooped the £15,000 first prize in style against Nicholson.

Nicholson had knocked out in-form Dutch star Michael van Gerwen, 16-year-old German talent Max Hopp, former World Youth Champion Arron Monk and Wayne Jones in his run to the final.

However, he failed to reproduce that form as the ever-consistent Whitlock claimed the victory against his World Cup team-mate.

Nicholson actually won the opening leg of the final, hitting a 180 to set up double 16, but Whitlock levelled on double 12 and hit a pair of double ten finishes to move 3-1 up.

Whitlock then fired in another 180 to set up tops for a 14-dart leg and landed double ten to move to the brink of his first European Tour win.

He then landed scores of 140 and 133 to be first to a finish in leg seven, and although he initially missed two match darts at double 16 for a 70 checkout, he returned to hit the bed and seal the title.

"It feels fantastic and I^m over the moon to win," said Whitlock, who had dropped just four legs in victories over Ian White, Johnny Haines and Kim Huybrechts on Sunday as he reached the final.

"It^s brilliant for two Australians to be in the final and Paul^s done really well this weekend.

"I seem to perform well on the Contintent and to follow up the European Championship win with this is great - I can^t wait for the World Championship now and hopefully I^ll be holding the trophy at the end of that too!"

He added: "Paul^s a very good friend of mine and we^re World Cup pairs partners, so it was tough playing him and I^m just happy to get the win.

"It^s been a long day but I stuck with it and I^ve had some good performances, my averages were pretty good and I was solid."

Nicholson^s performance was his best in the year^s five European Tour events - and his first final since he partnered Whitlock in the World Cup back in February - with the £7,500 prize money helping him to maintain his spot within the world^s top 16.

"It^s been a huge weekend for me," said Nicholson. "This year has been up and down but this weekend has proved to me that all the hard work really has been worth it.

"I^ve had some really tough games and played some great darts. By the time the final came around I was shattered and ran out of steam but Simon^s been used to getting this far in tournaments this year and I haven^t. He^s had a bit more darts fitness than me and I give him all the credit.

"I^m so privileged to have been part of the first all-Aussie final on the ProTour and I^m proud of myself to have got this far. Before this week, nobody had any expectation of me and I^m thrilled to have been in the final.

"I^ll move on from here and I^m looking forward to the next couple of months."

Jones won through to the semi-finals in style with a superb 6-5 defeat of Phil Taylor in a high-quality quarter-final contest, which saw the world number one miss three match darts in a dramatic deciding leg.

Jones^ run was his best performance for 12 months on the PDC circuit and a huge boost ahead of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts on home soil in Wolverhampton, which begins in a fortnight.

Emerging Belgian ace Huybrechts reached his fifth semi-final of the year with a brilliant 6-2 quarter-final defeat of Mark Walsh, who was joined in the last eight by Monk - who overcame Andy Hamilton in the third round earlier in the day - and Swindon^s Johnny Haines.

Haines had defeated Dutch hero Raymond van Barneveld on Saturday night and then overcame Jamie Caven in the last 16, with the £3,000 prize money putting him in the frame to qualify for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship through the ProTour Order of Merit in his debut year as a professional.

Four Players Championship events now remain before the cut-off for the World Championship and Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, with next weekend^s double-header in Crawley followed by two events in Barnsley at the end of November.

Dutch Darts Masters - European Tour Event Five
Sunday October 28
Third Round

Phil Taylor 6-1 Andy Smith
Andy Jenkins 1-6 Wayne Jones
Max Hopp 1-6 Paul Nicholson
Andy Hamilton 4-6 Arron Monk
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Ian White
Johnny Haines 6-5 Jamie Caven
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Colin Osborne
Steve Brown 3-6 Mark Walsh

Phil Taylor 5-6 Wayne Jones
Paul Nicholson 6-1 Arron Monk
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Johnny Haines
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Mark Walsh

Wayne Jones 3-6 Paul Nicholson
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Kim Huybrechts

Paul Nicholson 1-6 Simon Whitlock

Match Information
Third Round Round-Up

PHIL TAYLOR and Simon Whitlock turned on the style as they won through to the Dutch Darts Masters quarter-finals with wins over Andy Smith and Ian White respectively.

Taylor recorded a superb 109.76 average in his 6-1 win over Andy Smith as he powered through to the last eight, where he now plays Wayne Jones after the Wolverhampton man defeated Andy Jenkins by the same scoreline.

Number two seed Whitlock, meanwhile, averaged 102.50 in an impressive 6-1 win over in-form Ian White, who was the runner-up in the European Tour event in Stuttgart last month.

Whitlock now plays Swindon^s Johnny Haines, who followed up last night^s defeat of Raymond van Barneveld with a 6-5 win over Jamie Caven as he reached the quarter-finals for just the second time since winning a Tour Card to turn professional in January.

Paul Nicholson reached the quarter-finals for the first time in a European Tour event with his 6-1 win over Max Hopp, the German teenager who has impressed in defeating Terry Jenkins and Steve Beaton this weekend.

Nicholson now faces another youngster, former World Youth Champion Arron Monk, after he reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4 defeat of Andy Hamilton.

The other quarter-final will feature Belgian Kim Huybrechts - who saw off Colin Osborne 6-4 - and Mark Walsh, who was a 6-3 winner against Steve Brown.

Phil Taylor 5-6 Wayne Jones
Wayne Jones^ revival continued as he edged out world number one Phil Taylor 6-5 to reach the Dutch Darts Masters semi-finals in Nuland.
The Wolverhampton ace took an early 2-0 lead before Taylor hit back to level in a high-quality contest.
Jones took out 161 to win the fifth leg and kicked off the sixth with a 180, only for Taylor to take out an 11-darter to level again before finishing double four in the next to lead 4-3.
Jones, though, hit an 11-darter of his own to level before Taylor posted double seven to move a leg away from the win. Jones took out 78 to force a decider, and was first to a finish in the final leg as he left 60 - only to miss a dart at tops in single five.
Taylor, though, missed three darts at double 12 for the win, and Jones returned to land double 16 with his third dart to edge through with an average of 101.49 to Taylor^s 99.63.
Wayne Jones: "It was a really good game - we were both consistent and I enjoyed it. I thought I^d messed it up at the end but I got a second chance and I took it."

Paul Nicholson 6-1 Arron Monk
Paul Nicholson won through to the Dutch Darts Masters semi-finals with a 6-1 defeat of former World Youth Champion Arron Monk.
Nicholson made the early running by winning the game^s first three legs and then took out 68 on the fourth to move two breaks of throw up.
Monk finished 24 to win the fifth, but Nicholson finished 16 to lead 5-1 and hit two 140s in the next as he sealed his place in a first European Tour semi.
Paul Nicholson: "I^m really chuffed to be through to the semis for the first time. Arron and I are really good friends and I^ve seen him grow up in the last couple of years. He wasn^t at his best there but it^s a good experience for him to be in a big quarter-final and he^s learning all the time."

Simon Whitlock 6-2 Johnny Haines
Simon Whitlock progressed to the semi-finals with a superb display against Johnny Haines, defeating the Swindon ace 6-2.
Whitlock took the first two legs before finishing 96 to move 3-0 up.
Haines got off the mark in the third, but Whitlock fired in two 180s as he regained his advantage and another maximum before taking out 71 to lead 5-1.
Haines landed an 84 finish to stay in the game, but Whitlock fired in another maximum as he sealed the win.
Simon Whitlock: "I^m really happy to be in the semi-finals. I played really well, I hit lots of 180 and my doubles were going in well."

Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Mark Walsh
Kim Huybrechts surged into the semi-finals with a brilliant display to see off Mark Walsh 6-2.
Walsh hit a 180 as he took the game^s opening leg, but could do little to halt the Belgian^s charge as Huybrechts won the next five without reply, finishing double 16 to level, double 13 for a 14-darter and double 12 to move 3-1 up before producing back-to-back 12-dart finishes - following a 180 with a 147 checkout in one.
Huybrechts missed two match darts in the next as Walsh took out double ten to stay in the game, but the Belgian sealed the win in the next, finishing 70 for a 14-darter.

Wayne Jones 3-6 Paul Nicholson
Paul Nicholson charged into the Dutch Darts Masters final with a 6-3 win over Wayne Jones.
Jones made a fine start, winning the first two legs with successive 15-darters, taking out double eight in the first and 73 in the second, after hitting a 180.
Nicholson replied with a pair of 12-darters to level, opening both legs with a 180 and a 140, before defying a maximum from Jones in the fifth to land double eight and lead 3-2.
Jones took out 62 to level, but Nicholson edged the seventh on double eight and then produced a brilliant 11-darter to lead 5-3, hitting 180, 140 and 165 to set up the same double.
Nicholson added his fourth 180 of the game in the next, and although Jones replied with a maximum the Australian World Cup star sealed the win on double eight.
Paul Nicholson: "To be in the final of a great tournament like this in a wonderful country like Holland is a great feeling for me. I^m actually quite emotional because it^s been a tough year and I^ve worked my guts off. A lot of people, including Eric Bristow, have written me off this year and that^s been part of my inspiration recently."

Simon Whitlock 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock raced past Kim Huybrechts with a 6-1 victory to reach the Dutch Darts Masters final in Nuland.
The Australian made a stunning start to the contest, winning the first four legs in 14, 14, 11 and 14 darts to take command.
Huybrechts got off the mark in 14 darts with double eight in the fifth, but Whitlock took out 100 to win the next and finished double 14 to seal a comprehensive victory.


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