World Matchplay Day Seven preview, schedule and predictions: Quarter-finals to conclude in Milton Keynes
Another scintillating night of Betfred World Matchplay darts at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes saw Michael Smith and Gary Anderson set up a mouth-watering semi-final.
We now head into the second night of quarter-final action as former back to back World Champion Adrian Lewis takes on Belgium’s Dimitri van den Bergh.
Despite Michael van Gerwen’s early exit, there will be Dutch representation in the quarter-finals as his good friend Vincent van der Voort takes on three-time world champion Glen Durrant, while another multiple-time world champion in Adrian Lewis faces Dimitri Van den Bergh.
ADRIAN LEWIS VS DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH
It was in 2011 when Lewis lept out of the shadow of mentor Phil Taylor and announced himself on the big stage; the biggest stage of all – the World Championship. Proving not to be a one hit wonder, Lewis went and repeated the feat twelve months later.
Yet eight years on from that formidable success, major events have eluded Lewis, winning only the UK Open. There have been the odd flirtations of success, such as a run to the 2013 World Matchplay and Grand Slam of Darts, but Lewis has been starved of success.
With the very top seeds tumbling at the early stages this could arguably be Lewis’ best chance to reclaim a big stage win. He is playing some of his best stuff in a long time and the draw has fallen kindly for ‘Jackpot’.
Lewis saw off a stubborn Steve Beaton in his opener, with the ‘Bronzed Adonis’ making his 20th consecutive appearance at the Matchplay and proved to be a stubborn test.
The Stoke-on-Trent man held a 3-2 lead at the first interval and extended it to 6-4 by the second, and when he edged 8-6 infront in the race to eleven, Lewis looked on course for round two, but Beaton fought back and restored parity at eight apiece. Not to be denied, Lewis checked out 107 before cleaning up 72 and completed a 10-8 victory.
The second round provided a more routine victory as Lewis saw off Gerwyn Price’s conquerer Danny Noppert 11-7 with an average just short of the 100 mark and an impressive 42 per cent checkout efficiency.
By contrast, Van den Bergh has reached the World Matchplay quarter-finals on his debut in the tournament.
‘The Dream Maker’ is no stranger to the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the same stage of the World Championship, Grand Slam and this year’s UK Open. He’s also appeared as a Challenger in 2019 Premier League.
Van den Bergh’s stock is rising, confidence is rising and a recent stopover with Peter Wright and his family is no doubt helping. When the UK Government imposed a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Van den Bergh found himself living with the reigning world champion – no doubt improving his game along the way.
In round one van den Bergh saw off a below par Nathan Aspinall 10-5, averaging over 98 and registering a checkout success rate of 41 per cent was enough to see off the world number six.
It took a remarkable comeback for the Belgian to reach this stage as he trailed 8-5 to Joe Cullen, but as Cullen failed to close out the match, van den Bergh pegged him back to eight apiece before taking a 9-8 lead. ‘Rockstar’ managed to win the next leg and level, before the Belgian took the last two legs and set up the quarter-final against Lewis.
Van den Bergh is playing some of the best darts he ever has in a major event, though, Lewis won’t give up his chances and if the two-time world youth champion finds himself behind it’d be hard to see him having the game to reel Lewis back in and win.
Prediction: 16-10 Lewis
GLEN DURRANT VS VINCENT VAN DER VOORT
The move to Milton Keynes might not have been for everyone but van der Voort is enjoying his best Matchplay in eleven years, despite a tough looking first round match as Vincent was paired with Dave Chisnall.
The Dutchman settled the quicker of the two and raced into a 3-0 lead, as ‘Chizzy’ found doubles hard to come by missing six in the opening exchanges.
Chisnall found his rhythm and pulled it back to 3-2 at the interval, before a 130 checkout saw the St Helens man level and then win leg seven to hit the front for the first time.
Both men kept pace with each other and exchanged legs, before the Dutchman took out 101 and broke ‘Chizzy’ to skip ahead 9-6. He then closed the match out as he went through 10-6.
Van der Voort then cruised past Daryl Gurney in round two with a comfortable 11-5 victory, the Dutchman raced into a 5-0 lead at the first interval, including a 12-darter to break the throw in leg one – at one-point averaging 112, ‘Superchin’ rarely threatened a comeback as van der Voort eased through.
Three-time BDO world champion Durrant has also been in terrific form; his round one encounter with Jeffrey de Zwann looked a tricky opener.
Nevertheless, ‘Duzza’ was composed and calculated in his 10-3 demolition of de Zwaan, averaging an impressive 106 to set up a mouthwatering second round clash with world champion Wright.
Durrant edged out the world number two 11-8, although the Middlesborough man averaged a few points less than ‘Snakebite’, with his doubling success rate of 45 per cent edging him over the line.
Both men are in imperious form and this has the potential to be the match of the round. It is tough to call and should be a close encounter but the pace of the game could be vital. Durrant will no doubt be his usual slow and steady self – which could frustrate the lightening quick van der Voort.
Prediction: 16-13 Durrant
Day Seven of the Betfred World Matchplay commences from 7pm at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes and is broadcast live on Sky Sports Action.
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)