Robb upsets Whitlock at NZ Masters
LOCAL favourite Ben Robb denied Simon Whitlock a chance of winning his first World Series of Darts title with a 6-4 success on the first night of the New Zealand Darts Masters in Hamilton on Friday night.
Thirty-year-old Robb, from Christchurch, lost to the Australian No.1 in Auckland last year, missing one dart at double 16 to shock Whitlock.
This time round he did not make the same mistake, taking out double 10 to set up a quarter-final clash with World Matchplay champion Rob Cross at the Claudelands Arena on Saturday night.
Robb said he was so pleased he could do himself justice after losing 6-0 to three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen at the Brisbane Masters two weeks ago.
"Two weeks ago I didn't play my game at all," Robb said.
"It feels like all that hard work has paid off. All that practice that no one sees, when everyone else is in bed and I am working hard.
"I am just glad to have done it in front of my friends and family."
2017 Auckland champion Kyle Anderson had a chance to defeat reigning NZ Masters title holder Michael van Gerwen but missed four match darts as the Dutch star came through in a thriller to win 6-5
Fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld survived a match dart against Auckland's Cody Harris to keep alive his hopes of winning a World Series crown in his final tournament in New Zealand, with a 6-5 success.
Earlier in the night Wellington's Craig Caldwell also came close to an upset win, losing 6-5 to English star James Wade, who fought back from 4-2 down.
Daryl Gurney was too good for West Australia's David Platt, winning 6-2, while New Zealand qualifier Haupai Puha could not take advantage against Gary Anderson, with the Scots star struggling with a bad tooth.
Anderson defied the pain to run out a 6-3 winner.
Peter Wright defeated an out-of-sorts Damon Heta 6-1, the Australian struggling to find the form which won him the Brisbane Masters two weeks ago, while Cross beat another New Zealander, Warren Parry, 6-2.
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be played on Saturday night.
Peter Wright v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Rob Cross v Ben Robb
Daryl Gurney v Raymond van Barneveld