Michael van Gerwen popped a stunning 146 checkout to silence the boo-boys and win his World Matchplay quarter-final epic against Nathan Aspinall.
Van Gerwen and Aspinall shared the opening six legs in an enthralling encounter before MVG reeled off eight of the next nine to move into a seemingly unassailable 11-4 lead. But the Asp came roaring back to make it 12-8 and 13-9 before the Dutchman moved within one leg of victory at 15-10.
With his back against the wall, Aspinall produced a superb display of slick scoring and fantastic finishing to make it 15-14 and set up a grandstand finish. By this stage, the crowd inside the Winter Gardens were also playing a part in the match, with a number of idiots whistling and booing when Van Gerwen went for a double.
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To Aspinall's immense credit, he tried to get the boo-boys and whistlers to keep quiet. But they clearly had an effect on Van Gerwen, who at one stage missed three match darts. "Absolutely uncalled for. That is not what this is about," raged Wayne Mardle in the Sky Sports commentary box.
Nevertheless, the three-time champion of the world rose above those distractions to edge ahead at 15-14 before producing arguably the finish of the tournament to wrap up the tie.
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With Aspinall sitting pretty on 84 to take the game to a tie-break, Van Gerwen pinned two treble 20s and double 13 to take out 146 in the blink of an eye.
Aspinall could only smile and applaud as MVG let out a huge roar of emotion in front of an audience who, by this stage, were applauding the star's brilliance.
"I was 11-4 up, I was in cruise control and I was playing really well, but Nathan never gives up," reflected Van Gerwen afterwards. "The crowd were on his side as well, and I made it so difficult for myself. I shouldn’t put myself in that position.
"You have to give Nathan credit for putting me under pressure, and it gives me a great boost to come through games like this. Dimitri deserves to be in the semi-finals, and if I want to beat him, I have to play really well. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it."
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