We will see the semi-final line up for the World Matchplay finalised on Friday evening when the last two quarter finals make up a tasty looking schedule inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on what should be a sizzling night of darts.
We have already seen the defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and the Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski qualify for the last four and on Friday evening the likes of Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen will be looking to join them.
Peter Wright vs Michael Smith
The opening quarter final on Friday evening sees two men who have made the final of this tournament in the past but are yet to get their hands on the title competing when Peter Wright takes on Michael Smith in a great opener to the night.
Wright has been very good in this tournament. I wasn’t sure what to make of his opening match against Danny Noppert but we saw in the win over Joe Cullen that he is just playing to a sustained level which is of a very high standard and he is going to take a lot of beating in this tournament if he isn’t to win it. Smith has come through the draw in a more gritty fashion, grinding out wins rather than showing the usual flashy darts that he has become known for. While you have to admire the fighting spirit of Smith this week he isn’t in top form and any mistakes will be punished to the full. I expect Wright to continue his recent dominance of Smith having won their last three meetings, with another comfortable success here.
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Michael van Gerwen vs Nathan Aspinall
The last of the quarter finals might just be the pick of them as the former champion Michael van Gerwen takes on a Nathan Aspinall who is always a challenger for every tournament he enters and who has been in good touch this week.
Van Gerwen has lost that fear factor that he used to carry a couple of years ago. I think it is fair to say that after the opening two rounds here where Damon Heta and Ian White took the match to the Dutch ace. It is then to his credit that he was able to get over the line and he faces another opponent here who will certainly bring the heat. Aspinall has already disposed of two genuine dangers in the form of Mervyn King and Gary Anderson so far this week and now he faces a challenge that he is ready for. I think this will be a really tight quarter final. One of their Premier League matches was a draw while their last two meetings ended 6-5 and 8-6 last year. There was a more recent Premier League meeting which ended 8-3 but that was the night crowds were back and MVG accounted for his performance by not being ready for it. I’ll take him at his word there. He’ll be ready for this so I think they can both combine for more than 27.5 legs.
Back P.Wright (-2.5 legs) to beat M.Smith for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
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Back M.van Gerwen vs N.Aspinall – Over 27.5 legs for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
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