Gary Anderson vs Dimitri Van den Bergh: Generations collide in enticing World Matchplay final
After the arrival of 32 professionals at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, just two remain as Gary Anderson faces Dimitri Van den Bergh in the Betfred World Matchplay final.
Despite a rather different environment and the prestigious tournament being held away from Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, the last eight days of action have failed to disappoint.
Michael van Gerwen, world champion Peter Wright and defending champion Rob Cross were amongst the early casualties, with a shock quarter-final lineup containing the unseeded Vincent van der Voort and Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Two-time world youth champion Van den Bergh remains hopefully of getting his hands on the Phil Taylor Trophy after becoming the sixth debutant to reach the final.
Former champion Gary Anderson stands in his way, with the Scotsman vying to secure professional darts’ second largest ranking title for the second time in three years.
GARY ANDERSON VS DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH
Few would have predicted the unseeded Belgian to reach the final in Milton Keynes, and there were certainly more probable candidates than two-time world champion Anderson.
Neither performed to there usual standards upon the sport’s return at the Summer Series, though, the pair have taken the World Matchplay by storm.
Both experienced rather different circumstances throughout the four-month hiatus, with Anderson hardly picking up and his darts and opting to spend an elongated period of time with his family, whereas Van den Bergh spent a number of weeks living with reigning world champion Wright in Suffolk.
Van den Bergh has pulled off numerous shocks in Milton Keynes, ousting former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall in the first round, before defeating both Joe Cullen and Adrian Lewis to reach the semi-finals.
The Belgian was then calm and collective in seeing off three-time world champion Glen Durrant, at the same stage that saw Anderson defeat his protege Michael Smith.
Anderson had defeated van Gerwen’s conquerer Simon Whitlock beforehand, after relatively comfortable victories over both James Wade and Justin Pipe.
Van den Bergh and ‘The Flying Scotsman’ have locked horns once before on the televised stage, with the Belgian producing a shock victory over the world number eight in the German Darts Masters semi-finals two years.
A staggering 20,000 spectators flocked inside a mammoth arena to witness Van den Bergh reaching the final of the World Series of Darts event, bizarrely on his debut then also.
It will be massively different occasion on Sunday evening with fans forbidden, and instead artificial atmosphere being pumped into the auditorium as well as a big screen providing interactions from supporters.
Anderson will be hoping to secure his ninth major accolade in the professional echelons of the sport, while ‘The Dream Maker’ could become the first Belgian thrower to win a televised honour.
Van den Bergh surpasses Anderson in both the scoring and finishing departments according to statistics from the tournament, though, very few have more experience in these situations than Anderson.
Prediction: 18-15 Anderson
Anderson and Van den Bergh will contest the Betfred World Matchplay final from 8.30pm at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, broadcast live on Sky Sports Action.
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)