The 2017 World Matchplay has already thrown up some thrilling darts and some shock results, and the quarter finals on Thursday and Friday are hotly anticipated. Some big names have fallen already in the competition at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, most notably number two seed Gary Anderson. Other big names to follow him out of the tournament have included James Wade and Dave Chisnall, but the two biggest names – Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen – have navigated their way to the last eight.
Anderson lost out in a high quality match against Daryl Gurney in which both players scored well over 100 averages. Gurney won out by 11 legs to 9, taking the scalp of the Flying Scotsman and lining up a quarter final against Mensur Suljovic. Dave Chisnall succumbed 12-14 to Alan Norris, with the latter’s reward a last eight tie against Adrian Lewis. James Wade lost his first round match to Darren Webster, and the qualifier is now set for a quarter final against number 3 seed Peter Wright.
The highlight of the four quarters has to be the match up between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, with the only disappointment that it comes so early in the tournament.
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
We’ve already backed MVG to win the competition (hardly going out on a limb), but Taylor can be backed in this match – at least to the extent that he will run MVG close. The Stoke ace can be backed with a +5.5 leg handicap at odds of -110 with Coral and William Hill.
The quarter finals are to be played over the best of 31 legs, and while the Dutch master is expected to come through this very tough game, Taylor can certainly get within 5 legs if he plays to his best. A trophy in what is expected to be the Power’s last season on the professional circuit would be a fitting end to an illustrious career, and Taylor’s recent form suggests he is going all out to achieve it. He swept Raymond van Barneveld aside in the previous round 11-3, scoring an average of above 102 and hitting 50% of checkouts.
Michael van Gerwen beat Simon Whitlock by the same margin of 11-3, never looking in doubt of reaching the quarter final. Recent head-to-heads fall in the Dutchman’s favour, but Taylor did beat him in a Premier League match up this season and also ran him close in an 8-7 defeat at the Shanghai Masters.
Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic
Gurney averaged 103.26 and hit 9 180’s in the 11-9 victory over Anderson, and was fully deserving of beating an opponent who also hit a high average of 105.17. Gurney beat Benito van de Pas by the same 11-9 scoreline in his first round match, producing an average of 96.98.
Those figures may be significant as his opponent has managed average of just 94.42 in his first round victory over John Henderson, and 95.57 in his second round win over Justin Pipe. The head-to-head favours the Austrian player – he’s won four of the last five meetings – but Gurney will be high on enthusiasm and momentum after that win against Anderson, and the Northern Irish player is sure to have strong support from the crowd on Thursday night.
Alan Norris v Adrian Lewis
Lewis has had two tough encounters against Steve Beaton and Rob Cross, and this will be another tricky game against a qualifier who has already dumped out two seeded players. Norris beat Kim Huybrechts 10-6 in the first round, and followed up with an epic 14-12 victory over Dave Chisnall in the second. However, he comes up against one of the world’s top players here, and Lewis should prove too good on Friday night.
Darren Webster v Peter Wright
Finally, while most of the quarter finals are expected to be tight affairs, there could be a bit of value in backing Peter Wright to cover a -5.5 handicap at +110 with BetVictor.
Snakebite struggled to a 10-8 victory over James Wilson in his opening game, hitting an average of just 89.26. He left that form well behind in the last round though, notching an average of 104.18 in an 11-4 thrashing of Spain’s Cristo Reyes.
Webster has hit 95 and 96 averages in his two matches so far, and the highlight was his first round victory over James Wade. He will have raise his game significantly to get close to an in-form Peter Wright on Thursday if he has aspirations of a last four slot, but Wright will almost certainly have a potential final in his sights.
Phil Taylor +5.5 to beat Michael van Gerwen
Friday 28th July, 21:45 GMT
Daryl Gurney to beat Mensur Suljovic
Thursday 27th July, 19:20 GMT
Adrian Lewis to beat Alan Norris
Friday 28th July, 19:20 GMT
Peter Wright -5.5 to beat Darren Webster
Thursday 27th July, 21:45 GMT