The PDC World Darts Championship has already given punters more than enough value for money, with thrills and spills coming thick and fast. World number one Michael van Gerwen was unceremoniously dumped out by countryman Raymond van Barneveld on Tuesday night, and that epic shock came just 24 hours before Phil Taylor went the same way. The ‘Power’, whose name is synonymous with the World Championship, exited at the hands of Jelle Klaasen on Wednesday evening; and those two results have thrown the tournament wide open.
After a clean sweep of winning tips over the weekend’s matches, we’re turning our attention to Friday night’s quarter finals, with the pick of the ties a clash between Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis.
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
This will arguably be the clash of the night on Friday evening, with two top players going head-to-head for a place in the semi finals. The shock of Wednesday night was undoubtedly Jelle Klaasen’s 4-3 victory over Phil Taylor, but Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall served up their own seven-set thriller, with ‘Snakebite’ eventually coming through a match with immense quality throughout. Both players missed chances to win the match, but it was Wright who eventually held his nerve to hit double six and take the final set 6-4. Both players averaged over 102, and that kind of pressure will set Wright up for a huge match against the ‘Jackpot’ Lewis.
Peter Wright is the slight outsider of the two at +120 with William Hill, but he can come through to set up a semi final against van Barneveld or Smith.
Adrian Lewis won this tournament in 2011 and 2012, and he is at home at the famous Alexandra Palace. He will be every inch a tough opponent, and has done very little wrong in the competition so far. We backed him to complete a whitewash in the first round of the tournament against Jan Dekker, and he duly obliged by taking the game 3-0. He’s gone on to record straight set victories over Andrew Gilding and Mensur Suljovic in the next two rounds, so he comes to this quarter final without dropping a single set so far.
It was a similar story for Peter Wright, who beat Keegan Brown and Ronny Huybrechts 3-0 and 4-0 respectively, but the competition that Chisnall provided should have sharpened the mind. Provided that game hasn’t taken too much out of ‘Snakebite’, he should be well poised to deal with the pressure that Lewis will almost certainly apply.
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
Raymond van Barneveld is worth following at -118 with BoyleSports after that epic victory against van Gerwen.
Incredibly the world number one recorded an average of 105.78 during the contest, yet still ended up the loser in a titanic 4-3 that saw ‘Barney’ seal victory with a 96 checkout. The Dutchman’s prize for that triumph is a quarter final clash with former World Youth Champion Michael Smith, and while it won’t be an easy game by any stretch, he looks worth following with the confidence that win will surely provide.
After a first round 3-0 win against Dirk van Duijbenvode in which he barely had to get out of his stride, van Barneveld faced up to Stephen Bunting in the second round and was taken all the way in a 4-3 encounter. He averaged 91.34 and 94.63 in those games, but raised the bar significantly against van Gerwen to record an average of 100.44.
Michael Smith has progressed smoothly enough to this stage, dropping two sets each against Jeffrey de Zwaan and Steve Beaton in the first two rounds, before beating an under-par Benito van de Pas 4-0 in the last round. If van Barneveld suffers any anti-climatic drop in form after that huge win Smith will take advantage, but ‘Barney’ is experienced enough to deal with the highs and lows of professional darts. He ought to be able to regain his focus, and at this stage of his career, he may never get a better chance to win a second World Championship after his 2007 success.
Gary Anderson v James Wade
The defending champion has seen the competition truly open up for him, and if he gets through this tie a semi final against either Alan Norris and Jelle Klaasen awaits. With respect to those two players, that gives Anderson a brilliant chance of reaching the final again this year, and we don’t expect to see him make any mistakes on Friday afternoon. It’s been a fairly serene route to this stage for the Scotsman, with a 3-0 victory over Andy Boulton in the first round, followed by a 4-1 victory in the second against Daryl Gurney. He hit an average of over 101 to dispatch Vincent van de Voort in the next round, and should have too much for James Wade.
Wade has come through three relatively easy ties, beating John Michael, Wes Newton and Jamie Caven, dropping only a single set along the way, but tellingly he has yet to score an average beyond the 95.77 he recorded in the first round.
Alan Norris v Jelle Klaasen
The other quarter final between Alan Norris and Jelle Klaasen is the only one we’re going to avoid, as the general price of -227 looks a little tight. After the heroics of beating Phil Taylor, Klaasen will have his supporters and could easily take this game, but it’s often a worry when a player causes a huge upset that they can follow it up. Norris may not be able to raise his game enough to beat the Dutchman, but this has the look of a match that could go either way.
Peter Wright to beat Adrian Lewis
Friday 1st January, 19:30 GMT
Gary Anderson to beat James Wade
Friday 1st January, 13:00 GMT
Raymond van Barneveld to beat Michael Smith
Friday 1st January, 19:30 GMT
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