Japan Darts Masters quarter-finals: Taylor to battle Barney
Warning: spoilers ahead for anyone who is waiting to watch ITV4’s delayed coverage.
Yokohama, Japan’s sprawling second-largest city, has played host to the 2015 Japan Darts Masters stylishly so far, though disappointingly all of the East Asian darts-mad nation’s homegrown heroes have already fallen to big-name superstars.
With a thrilling first round already over, some truly intriguing ties have been set-up for the quarter-finals and beyond, with the narrative from the recent 2015 World Cup of Darts set to continue.
As this top tournament heads into the closing stages on Sunday, with all the quarters, semis and final clashes taking place in one day, the format will change from best of 11 legs to best of 15.
So, here, Coral preview some sensational duels to bring punters the best bets available as darts fever takes hold in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
Barney has the chance to bounce back from an uncharacteristically poor performance for the Netherlands in the World Cup of Darts, though the Dutchman has never won a World Series event, which is why he is just 14/1 to clinch the crown here.
Van Barneveld triumphed twice over Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in the 2015 Premier League of Darts, and both are capable of as much inconsistency as they are brilliance, so this battle between two greats promises to be a nail-biter. Should Barney push past Taylor, a duel with Gary Anderson, who helped Scotland knock the Dutch out of the World Cup, could be in the pipeline for the semi-finals.
Taylor, fresh from a third World Cup of Darts triumph with England, meanwhile, travels well and is justifiably second-favourite at 10/3 to claim his fourth World Series title, having previously won in Sydney twice and the Perth edition once.
Gary Anderson v James Wade
World champion Anderson is 7/2 to add the Japan Masters to his terrific title haul this year, which also includes winning the Premier League, and can claim his first World Series trophy here.
In fantastically lethal form, the Scot will face English foe James Wade, who twice failed to defeat him in the 2015 Premier League of Darts and subsequently missed out on the play-offs, so Anderson should seamlessly secure safe passage to the semi-finals.
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting
Powerful thrower Van Gerwen whitewashed Japanese opponent Chikara Fujimori 6-0 to set-up a quarter-final clash with Bunting, and the Dutch maestro’s potential path to the final looks smooth with just the Englishman and one of Adrian Lewis or Peter Wright in his way.
The world number one has lifted more World Series events than any other player, with four titles from seven, and should be incensed after failing to retain the World Cup of Darts alongside Barney. Never more dangerous than after a major loss, Mighty Mike is 6/4 favourite to win the lot once again in Yokohama.
Adrian Lewis v Peter Wright
Having both played second-fiddle to their higher-profile and popular partners for England and Scotland respectively in the World Cup of Darts, Lewis and Wright restored their faltering reputations in Frankfurt with impressive displays.
Having faced each other in the final, when Lewis proved to be the cooler of the two under pressure, ensuring the title went to England with a 4-1 victory over Wright, this should be tight.
Maverick Snakebite, 18/1 to win the competition, is capable of beating anyone on his day but Jackpot has already proven to have his measure and is more likely at 8/1 to be crowned emperor of Japan.