World Darts Championship – The Last 8!

0

Quarter Final 1 – Michael “The Green Machine” van Gerwen (1) vs Dave “Chizzy” Chisnall (8) 

 

The World Number 1 and 3 times PDC World Darts Champion, Michael van Gerwen has been magnificent in the tournament so far. He hasn’t been shy about stating his clear ambition to win a 4th World title. He has so far averaged 108.98 in beating Ryan Murray in the 2nd Round, 106.85 in beating Ricky Evans in Round 3 and then 100.43 in a spectacular match of a lifetime against Joe Cullen in the 4th Round. He saved match darts in that match and trailed 3-1 at one stage. Cullen hit a tournament equalling 19 maximums in a 7 set match. Cullen was brilliant and inspired throughout but MVG showed all his heart and character in order to win. The man is a force of nature.

Up against him will be Dave Chisnall. The former BDO World Championship runner-up in 2010 has largely flattered to deceive in his PDC career to date. He has never got past the Quarter Final stage at the World Championship which is an underperformance by his high standards. He’s so far beaten Keegan Brown 3-1, Danny Noppert 4-2 and Dimitri Van den Bergh by the same score. Both players averaged over 100 in that match, but Chisnall fired in 4 ton plus finishes including a 102 to seal the victory.

Chisnall and Van den Bergh both looked exhausted toward the end of that match and with an extra set required for victory in the Quarter Final, Chisnall will need to rest well and prepare effectively for the New Years’ Day showdown. If he tires against MVG in the same way, he won’t get as many chances as he needed in order to beat the dancing Belgian.

Quarter Final 2 – Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson (13) vs Dirk “Aubergenius” van Dujivenbode

 

Gary Anderson has shrugged off two years of relatively poor form to beat the awkward Madars Razma in the second round 2, 3-1. In Round 3 he beat the deliberately slow playing Mensur Suljovic 4-3, winning the final 6 legs in a row to turn around the match. The post-match discussion around that match was about the table usage and the mind games from Mensur, but ultimately Anderson shrugged it off to whitewash his 4th Round opponent, Devon Petersen (4-0). Unusually for Anderson, he has not averaged close to 100 so far, averaging 96.86, 92.49 and 95.55 respectively.

He’ll need to pick up that average against the heavy scoring Aubergenius (so named because he’s a former Aubergine farmer, and is unlikely to be allowed to forget about it). DVD is the last standing unseeded player. He had to come through a first round deciding set against Bradley Brooks, winning 3-2. In the 2nd Round he defeated former World Champion Rob Cross 3-2 in a deciding leg in the final set. The 3rd Round was a little more straight forward with a 4-0 win over Adam Hunt, although that match was far closer than the scoreline suggests. DVD averaged 104.09 to Hunt’s 97.39 in a high quality match from the start. In the 4th Round, van Dujivenbode needed another last leg decider in order get through, winning 4-3 against 2020 Premier League Champion Glen Durrant. DVD’s average was consistently above 100 until the last couple of sets and eventually it dropped to 96.75.

Doubles will be the key for DVD against Anderson – his scoring should set up the legs but you’d expect Anderson to be sharper on the doubles when he gets the opportunities.

Quarter Final 3 – Krzystof “The Polish Eagle” Ratajski (15) vs Stephen “The Bullet” Bunting (26)

 

The problem for Ratajski is that he’s never previously gone past the 3rd Round previously. He’s lacking in experience but he’s not lacking in belief or ability. He’s beaten Ryan Joyce 3-0, the very dangerous (although mainly to dartboards, considering his homemade points) Simon Whitlock 4-0 and in the 4th round he needed all but one possible leg in order to beat Gabriel Clemens in the deciding leg of the final set, winning 4-3. It really could have gone either way. He has had what many would consider a favourable draw, given Clemens had beaten reigning World Champion Peter Wright in the 3rd Round.

Stephen Bunting has returned to his finest form in this tournament, beating Andy Boulton 3-2, James Wade 4-2 (despite Wade hitting a 9 dart leg during the match) and finally beating Ryan Searle 4-3 in the deciding leg of the final set. Bunting has performed well in order to make his first Quarter Final since 2015. He has never got past this stage previously, losing to van Barneveld 5-4 (before being beaten by the same player, 4-3, the following year in the 2nd Round).

With respect to both players, this is the Quarter Final with the least pre-match buzz, and is the first match scheduled in the afternoon session. But one of these two players will be making the Semi Finals, so they both have a serious chance not only to get some much needed funding for the year and a generous ranking boost but also to get some exposure to the global fanbase of the sport.

Quarter Final 4 – Gerwyn “The Iceman” Price (3) vs Daryl “SuperChin” Gurney (11)

 

Gerwyn Price can become the World Number 1 by winning the tournament. He has been playing brilliantly all year and will strongly fancy himself to overcome the Northern Irishman. Despite his strong showing in the tournament so far, he hasn’t had it all his own way. In the 2nd Round he won a final set 3-0 against fellow Welshman Jamie Lewis to win the match 3-2. In the 3rd Round he needed a last leg decider in the final set to beat Brendan Dolan 4-3. The 4th Round 4-1 win over Mervyn King was much more straight forward with the usual combination of high scoring and clean outshots.

Finally, Gurney’s toughest match was in the 2nd Round against William O’Connor, 3-2. He comfortably defeated Chris Dobey 4-1 and then the rapid throwing Vincen van der Voort 4-2 in the 4th Round. Gurney has been doing the job as required thus far, although his averages are impressive – 99.19, 101.39 and 93.65 respectively so far. He’s a magnificent player on his day and will fancy his chances against Price but he’ll need to play at his best. He last made the Quarter Final stage in 2017, losing to Michael van Gerwen.

This match will kick off the evening session of the Quarter Final stage. The winner will fancy their chances of making it through to the final, but will that be a motivator or a hindrance? The weight of expectation might be too much for either of both but they have big-match experience. Daryl Gurney won the last of his two major tournaments in 2018 but Price has more recent major tournament success by winning the World Grand Prix in 2020.