The final night of darts in 2017 sees the PDC World Darts Championship semi-finals played out and by the end of the evening we will know which two men will battle it out for the £400,000 first prize on the first night of 2018.
The quarter finals were full of quality and drama and these two semi-finals should be no different on what looks like being a wonderful night of darts inside the Alexandra Palace in London. We’re up to the best of 11 sets now so the format should bring out even more quality.
Jamie Lewis vs Phil Taylor
Jamie Lewis: Preliminary Round beat Kenny Neyens 2-1 – Ave: 93.17 180s: 2
Round 1 beat Jonny Clayton 3-0 – Ave: 99.02 180s: 5
Round 2 beat Peter Wright 4-1 – Ave: 107.27 180s: 13
Round 3 beat James Richardson 4-1 – Ave: 96.25 180s: 5
QF beat Darren Webster 5-0 – Ave: 101.26 180s: 14
Phil Taylor: Round 1 beat Chris Dobey 3-1 – Ave: 96.33 180s: 3
Round 2 beat Justin Pipe 4-0 – Ave: 99.37 180s: 2
Round 3 beat Keegan Brown 4-0 – Ave: 101.34 180s: 4
QF beat Gary Anderson 5-3 – Ave: 102.02 180s: 12
Head to Head: 0-2
The opening semi-final sees the surprise package of the tournament up against the fairy tale of the event as Jamie Lewis, in his first World Championship last four contest takes on a Phil Taylor who is two wins away from retiring in style.
These two men have been very good in the tournament. For my money Jamie Lewis has been the best player in the tournament so far. He has been scoring brilliantly and his finishing has been right up there. Taylor hasn’t been far behind in fairness. His finishing has been very strong so we are set for an excellent semi-final.
I think the bookmakers are underestimating Jamie Lewis here. I don’t think he’ll win although the thought shouldn’t be ruled out but I do think he can win three sets before he is beaten. His scoring power will keep him in a lot of legs and the way he has finished I expect him to stay close especially should Taylor take the odd set off to pace himself.
I also like Lewis to hit more than 10.5 180s. He has already done that twice in the tournament in matches that only went five sets. Given that this one will be much longer than that the obvious bet is on the overs there.
Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen: Round 1 beat Christian Kist 3-1 – Ave: 106.17 180s: 4
Round 2 beat James Wilson 4-0 – Ave: 108.65 180s: 4
Round 3 beat Gerwyn Price 4-2 – Ave: 100.06 180s: 12
QF beat Raymond Barneveld 5-4 – Ave: 102.91 180s: 12
Rob Cross: Round 1 beat Seigo Asada 3-0 – Ave: 104.12 180s: 6
Round 2 beat Michael Smith 4-3 – Ave: 102.65 180s: 16
Round 3 beat John Henderson 4-1 – Ave: 99.77 180s: 7
QF beat Dimitri van den Bergh 5-4 – Ave: 97.13 180s: 11
Head to Head: 8-1
The second semi-final involves two men who were pushed right to the wire in the quarter finals when Michael van Gerwen takes on Rob Cross. The success of both this year means they have met regularly and we’ve already had classics from them in the European Championship final and the Grand Slam of Darts quarter final.
I fully expect this to be another close contest. Both men are full of scoring power and neither of them lack heart or guts. I think a lot of sets will go down to a fifth leg but for my money van Gerwen is beginning to feel the strain of defending this title. He’s been nothing like the player we’ve seen in previous years.
That can only be a positive for Rob Cross. Whether Cross has enough in him to win the match remains to be seen but the chances van Gerwen has been offering and the lack of relentless scoring we usually see from him can see Cross to three sets at least before he is beaten, if indeed he is beaten.
Back J.Lewis (+3.5 sets) to beat P.Taylor for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfair
WON – Back R.Cross (+3.5 sets) to beat M.van Gerwen for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back them here:
WON – Back J.Lewis – Over 10.5 180s for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfred
Back him here: