The quarter finals of the World Matchplay get underway inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Thursday evening when the two top half matches get played out. That means by the end of the night the first semi-final will be confirmed.
We race up to the best of 31 matches for this quarter final stage of the tournament and on Thursday we will see the defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh looking to continue his unbeaten run in the event as well as the world champion Gerwyn Price.
Krzysztof Ratajski vs Callan Rydz
The opening quarter final sees the Polish number one Krzysztof Ratajski taking on the only debutant remaining in the draw in the shape of Callan Rydz, the youngster who has seen off a couple of former world champions on his way to this stage.
While Rydz has beaten world champions in Glen Durrant and Rob Cross, without being too harsh on ‘The Riot’ those two men largely beat themselves with checkout rates of 6/35 and 8/24. You don’t get the impression that Ratajski is in the mood for any of that as he has seen off a couple of lively outsiders in emphatic style, getting in front of Brendan Dolan and Luke Humphries early and never surrendering his advantage. I’m expecting something similar here too. Ratajski has averaged 101.54 and 99.94 in his two matches to date which is a stark contrast to Rydz, who played well in the second round but still only averaged 92. Then you factor in experience at this stage of a major event and Ratajski to cover 2.5 legs looks the obvious play.
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Gerwyn Price vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
The second match of the night is the real juicy one as the world number one and world champion Gerwyn Price goes up against the defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh who is still unbeaten in his seven previous matches at the World Matchplay.
These two men have played brilliant darts to make it to this stage. Van den Bergh has seen off the challenges of Devon Petersen and Dave Chisnall while Price eased past Jermaine Wattimena and did a real job on his World Cup teammate Jonny Clayton in the second round. Both these men look to be playing superbly well so this one should be an absolute belter. If I was forced into a bet I would probably side with Van den Bergh at the prices but I’m well aware that the Welsh star has won six of their last seven meetings which puts me off that. I’m hoping this will be close and a great match from start to finish but it is one I’m going to watch rather than invest in as I just can’t call the winner.
Back K.Ratajski (-2.5 legs) to beat C.Rydz for a 4/10 stake at 1.75 with Betfair
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