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Auckland Masters quarters: Aussie Wizard battles old foe Taylor

The last World Series of Darts event Down Under and of the year before the finals in late November has now reached the quarters stage, and the inaugural Auckland Masters has certainly provided a great send-off so far.

Australians Simon Whitlock and Rob Modra flew the Oceanic flag high, as the former beat Stephen Bunting and the latter took world and Premier League champion Gary Anderson all the way. New Zealand home hope Rob Szabo, meanwhile, gave world number one Michael van Gerwen a test.

Coral preview Saturday’s action of the quarter-finals…

Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock

Darts - Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship - Day Thirteen - Alexandra Palace

This duo have been playing nearly a decade of darts against each other, but predictably it is The Power (1/7 odds-on favourite) that boasts the overwhelming record in his favour against The Wizard (9/2), as he leads him 39-7.

Whitlock finally managed a World Series win this year, after falling at the first hurdle in both the Perth and Coral Sydney Masters to Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis respectively, after surviving a late comeback against Bunting.

While The Wizard and current world number 10 has not been successful in his homeland in 2015, he is the only Oceanic hope left in this tournament, so will be hoping the Kiwi crowd gets behind him against Taylor.

But the 16-time world champion and 7/4 title favourite has been in devastating form of late, keeping up his undefeated record in World Series events Down Under by defending the Perth and Sydney trophies. The Power, who thrashed Craig Caldwell 6-0 in the first round, will be hoping to expand his invincibility over to New Zealand too, and is 9/2 to beat Whitlock 8-3.

Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson

Darts - 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship - Day Fourteen - Alexandra Palace

Scotsman Anderson (6/1 title chance) had to survive being 5-4 down and his opponent Modra being three darts away from causing an almighty shock to edge through to the quarters.

“I scored well and he finished superbly. It’s always nervy in your first game and I’m happy to be through,” The Flying Scotsman said following the 6-5 thriller.

Talking of thrillers, Anderson (4/7 favourite) now has to go up against Lewis (11/8) yet again, after the duo have also faced two 8-7 epics at this stage in Perth and Sydney. Jackpot won the last encounter, on route to the final, but back the Scot to come good and reach the semis this time by that scoreline once more at 13/2.

Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

Darts - Grand Slam of Darts - Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Dutch giants Van Gerwen (1/4) and Van Barneveld (3/1) have also both inflicted the same scoreline on the other Down Under this month, but both were 8-4.

Barney upset his compatriot last time out in Sydney and looked in fine fettle against English-born Aussie Loz Ryder, smashing him 6-0, whereas Mighty Mike could only beat Kiwi number Szabo 6-3. But back Van Gerwen (15/8 title shout) to belie his form in Oceania to beat Barney (20/1) by a closer 8-6 scoreline.

Peter Wright v James Wade

Peter Wright

In another potential see-saw clash Down Under, back Wright to stop the swing and follow up his revenge of Wade in Sydney, after losing to him in Perth, by reaching the semis here too at 6/5.

The Machine is the odds-on 4/6 favourite, but looked less convincing in his first round 6-3 win over Paul Nicholson than Snakebite’s 6-1 drubbing of Mark Cleaver.

If you fancy one of the duo to be the first players, besides Taylor and Van Gerwen, to win a World Series event since its inception in 2013, then back Japan Masters finalist Wright at 14/1 or recent World Matchplay and Perth runner-up Wade at 10/1.

Coral’s betting tip: With Anderson and Lewis enjoying 8-7 epics in the last two World Series tournaments Down Under, back the former @ 13/2 to win by that scoreline again