World Darts Championship quarters: England v Netherlands duels
The last two PDC World Darts Championship quarter-final matches take place on Friday, with old friends and rivals Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld looking to meet once more.
However, first they must see off Vincent van der Voort and Stephen Bunting respectably. Coral writers provide you previews of the evening action that mustn’t be missed.
Phil Taylor v Vincent van der Voort
The 16-time world champion faces perhaps the most straightforward of the quarter-final match-ups against Van Der Voort, as Coral’s heavy odds-on price of 1/20 for Taylor to win suggests.
But the Dutch Destroyer (9/1) will be no walkover, having reached this stage before in 2011, and beating The Power three times in their 21 meetings.
Taylor found his match prior to this one with Kim Huybrechts more challenging than expected too, after coming through the two earlier rounds without dropping a set. The 5/4 title favourite is 12/1 chance to beat the Dutchman 5-4, or a shorter 9/4 for a 5-0 win.
Van Der Voort has only ever gone out to Englishmen in this tournament (James Wade three times, Adrian Lewis twice, Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton), which doesn’t make good reading for him ahead of this clash with the greatest ever player of the game.
Following Taylor’s tense 4-3 victory over Huybrecht’s, The Power said: “I never thought I was out because the final set is a tie-breaker. I’m over the moon, I really am.
“That was the first time I’ve thrown with those darts and they feel fantastic. I’m going to get better. Trust me.”
Stephen Bunting v Raymond van Barneveld
Lakeside title holder Bunting faces five-time world champion Van Barneveld in the crunch clash of the night, with the former hoping to become the first player ever to win the BDO version of this event followed by the PDC edition the year after. He is the 8/1 title fourth-favourite.
The Bullet (odds-on at 4/7 to knock out Barney) was impressive in his defeat of friend and fellow St Helens-born player Michael Smith, averaging 102.34 on his way to a 4-2 triumph.
However, Van Barneveld (11/8) had to overcome a nine-dart finish by Adrian Lewis early on to somehow scrape a victory, despite being behind on a number of stats including legs won and his average.
The Dutchman never looked assured throughout, as his checkout percentage was also under par, which is why his odds to claim his first PDC World Championship since 2007 are so long at 14/1.
But speaking ahead of the game, Bunting said: “You know what you get with Raymond, he’s five-time world champion.”
“He’s a fantastic player, great scorer. I’ve just got to make sure that I get on top of him early and try to bully the game away. That’s been the key to my success in the last few years and I’m just going to continue to do so.”
“Coming in as the BDO champion, there is a lot of pressure, a lot of people have talked about me maybe winning the two titles,” he added.
“It’s never been done before, but I’m in the quarter-finals. I’m still in with a shout, so I just hope I can go all the way. It will be a dream come true.”
With a nine-darter already been thrown this tournament against Barney in a huge fixture, back another in this match at 12/1.