Mighty Mike can Storm into World Matchplay Semi-finals

The World Matchplay darts tournament is currently ongoing at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, and the quarter-finals are set to be played over 31 legs on Thursday and Friday nights. There have already been some big upsets, with both Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis falling to Pro Tour qualifiers. Ex-rugby player Gerwyn Price knocked out number 4 seed Adrian Lewis 13-10, while Austrian Mensur Suljovic caused the shock of the second round when he beat world champion Gary Anderson 13-9.

Both Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen are safely through to the last eight, with Taylor running out 13-6 winner against Andy Hamilton, and van Gerwen destroying Jamie Lewis 13-2. Taylor will face a tough battle against Dave Chisnall in his quarter-final on Friday night, after Chizzy survived a scare against youth champion Keegan Brown to prevail 13-11. Mighty Mike takes on Ian White in a repeat of last year’s second round match, after White secured his place by beating Simon Whitlock 13-9.

Michael van Gerwen’s huge win over Jamie Lewis was notable because he scored the fourth highest average in world matchplay history, 110.93, which has only been bettered by Phil Taylor on three occasions. He’s in fine form at the moment and is worth backing to overcome a sizable handicap against Ian White.

Michael van Gerwen v Ian White, Thursday 23rd July 7pm

Michael van Gerwen -6.5 –  -110  with Coral

Mighty Mike is taken to overcome the handicap against Ian White, after a scintillating display in the second round. He’s in outstanding form and White is going to be up against it over the best of 31 legs. van Gerwen beat Ian White 13-4 in the 2nd round last year on his way to the final, and it could be a similar result in this year’s competition. Might Mike barely gave Jamie Lewis a chance in the 13-2 slaughtering, winning nine legs in a row to storm into a 10-1 lead which effectively ended the contest. He also only dropped 4 legs in the 10-4 first round win over countryman Benito van de Pas. He would need to win at least 16-9 to beat the handicap, or to put it another way, Ian White would need to win 10 legs to stop him. It’s difficult to see how White will be able to do that, bearing in mind his average of 97.11 in his 13-9 victory over Simon Whitlock, and van Gerwen is worth backing to power his way into the semi-final.

Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price, Thursday 23rd July 7pm

Gerwyn Price is one of the two shock contenders in the quarter-final after he knocked out Adrian Lewis in a memorable match. The former rugby star reached the first major quarter-final of his career and admitted he has exceeded his own expectations. He had said he was hoping to land his first TV win, but he’s now on verge of achieving a career defining moment having only joined the PDC circuit in January 2014.

He’s set to play Peter Wright and is not without a chance. Wright has been in decent form over the first two rounds, averaging over 108 in his 10-5 first round victory over Kim Huybrechts. He went on to beat Andrew Gilding 13-7 in the 2nd round, and is rated as a best priced -333  favourite for this match. Gerwyn Price is +285  and as tempting as those odds are, this match is probably best left alone.

Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall, Friday 24th July 7pm

Phil Taylor -4.5 –  +115  with Betfair

We’ve already backed Phil Taylor to win his 8th consecutive and 16th overall World Matchplay, and he’s made his way to the quarter-finals with relative ease. He smashed John Henderson 10-2 in the opening round before claiming a 13-6 victory over Andy Hamilton in the 2nd round. He missed double 12 for a three-darter early on in that game and went on to lose the leg, and Taylor said it actually put him off his stride. It was 6-6 at one point before Taylor knuckled down and won the next seven legs on the trot to win the match.

He’s also worth backing to overcome the handicap against Dave Chisnall, who has dropped an awful lot of legs over his two games so far. He beat Jamie Caven 31-11 in the first round, before beating world youth champion Keegan Brown by the same score in the 2nd round. Phil Taylor is a class above those two competitors and if Chisnall gives away so many legs, he won’t find an opponent generous enough to let him get away with it.

It’s a big handicap to overcome in what will be a competitive quarter-final, but Taylor owes Chisnall a little bit of revenge after losing to him in the Premier League, which contributed to Taylor failing to make the play-offs, and it’s all set up for the Power to show his class at one of his favourite venues. He says he has been brilliant in practice and it’s starting to come together at the board – and it’s a brave man who backs against the English number one at Winter Gardens.

James Wade v Mensur Suljovic, Friday 24th July 7pm

Mensur Suljovic +5.5  –  -125  with Coral

Finally there could be a little bit of value in backing the outsider in Friday’s last quarter-final. Mensur Suljovic showed nerves of steel to beat Gary Anderson, consistently hitting 180’s, 140’s, and 100’s. Anderson struggled to get into his stride, and admitted he found it hard to enjoy the match, but it was a great performance by Suljovic nonetheless. He beat James Wade in the 2011 UK Open in what was previously his most high-profile win, but he surpassed that with the Anderson victory, and is worth backing with a 5.5 leg advantage.

James Wade has a very good record at Winter Gardens, having reached at least the quarters every year since his debut in 2006, and he could well go on to win this match. But with Suljovic in great form he’s worth a punt to get within five legs of Wade even if he does lose.

Tips Summary

World Matchplay Darts Quarter-Finals:

Michael van Gerwen -6.5 –  -110  with Coral

Phil Taylor -4.5 –  +115  with Betfair

Mensur Suljovic +5.5  –  -125  with Coral

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