Michael van Gerwen is proud that he managed to reach the semi-finals of the World Matchplay at the expense of Nathan Aspinall on Friday evening.

De Brabander defended an early lead with verve and triumphed 16-9 in Blackpool.

"It was not my best game, but at least I won," says a relieved Van Gerwen on the PDC site.

"Last year I could have lost at this stage of the tournament, but my mindset has improved and I did win now."

The 32-year-old from Brabant briefly seemed to give up a 5-2 lead - Aspinall came back to 5-4 - but the Dutchman then won four of the five legs that followed.

Van Gerwen did not relinquish his large margin after that and recorded an average of 94 per three arrows.

"We had a rough time and it seemed like we both wanted a little too much but I made the best of it at the end. I know I need to improve and there's more in the tank, but it's just me now for the win. At the moment I am very happy that I succeeded," says Van Gerwen.

In the semi-finals, two-time winner Van Gerwen awaits a showdown with Peter Wright, who dealt with Michael Smith (16-7) on Friday evening.

The other duel for a place in the final battle is between defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and Krzysztof Ratajski.

"It will be a great battle with Peter, because we are phenomenal players who do not want to lose to each other. We know what we are worth. Peter is doing well this tournament, but he has not met me yet," said Van Gerwen.