10th televised nine-darter for Taylor makes him new favourite
Seven out of the eight competitors left in the World Matchplay took part in the 2014 Premier League season, and it is fair to say that the quarter-final line-up is riddled with darting giants.
One of those, and the grandest of them all, Phil Taylor, delivered an unprecedented 10th televised nine-darter on the way to beating Michael Smith 13-6 in the second round, at the very place where he managed his first – Blackpool’s’ Winter Gardens.
Now, these colossal competitors battle it out for a place in the semis, where The Power is bidding for his 15th title, and seventh in succession.
James Wade v Simon Whitlock (Thursday 7.15pm)
Exiled Premier League star Wade (8/1 to win the tournament) faces the man who finished bottom of that table this season Whitlock (14/1) in the first quarter-final showdown of the tournament.
The duo have locked horns 31 times before, with the latter narrowly leading 17-14, but it is the former champion and four-time runner-up Englishman who is odds-on favourite at 8/13 to come through this test.
But it is the Aussie Wizard who saw off recent league champion Raymond van Barneveld in the last round, and you can back him at 5/4 to cause another surprise. Wade edged out Whitlock in an epic 18-16 contest last year at this stage, though, and should come through again.
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall (Thursday 8.45pm)
Number one seed Van Gerwen (15/8 tournament second-favourite) boasts a 10-5 winning record over Chisnall (22/1), including beating him in their last three head-to-heads.
The Dutch superstar also knocked out his English counterpart at the quarters last year in this tournament, and is odds-on at 2/9 to do so again. He won 16-11, and you can take odds of 9/1 for Van Gerwen to beat him by that scoreline once more.
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis (Friday 7.15pm)
These two have enjoyed close battles in the past, but Englishman Lewis (6/1 tournament third-favourite) edges his overall meetings with Anderson (7/1) 13-10.
The Flying Scotsman (11/10 to win) has already come through a tough opener and beat Peter Wright’s conqueror in the second round, while Lewis (odds-on at 8/11) whitewashed Andrew Gilding, before comfortably seeing off his bogey competitor Mervyn King.
Expect this to go all the way, but last year’s runner-up Lewis should edge it, as Anderson usually flops in Blackpool.
Phil Taylor v Wes Newton (Friday 8.45pm)
Following Taylor’s 10th televised nine-darter against Smith, the sporting great said: “I did forecast it by the way, there were a few people in the crowd who’d had a bet on it. I said before I thought there could be a nine-darter so I hope everyone had a bet on it.
“There’s nothing wrong with my form, everyone in the world kept telling me there’s something wrong with you but it was all about the equipment, we’ve kept on experimenting and then something just clicked in.”
There is no doubting now of The Power’s form certainly, and that is why Coral have made him the new World Matchplay favourite at 7/4. He has not lost at this event since 2007, and his next unlucky opponent is fellow Englishman Wes Newton (50/1 title outsider).
Taylor is massively odds-on at 1/20 to go through to the semis, with Newton a 9/1 chance, probably due to the fact the latter has won just one of the 30 head-to-heads and lost the last 15 with The Power.
Newton and Taylor have faced each other at this stage before at the World Matchplay in 2011, with the latter claiming a 16-5 thrashing. That scoreline in his favour again is priced at 10/1.
Odds correct at time of publishing.