World Matchplay quarters: Former champs Taylor and Wade feature
This year’s World Matchplay darts just keeps getting better and better, with the sport’s best being pushed all the way by unfavoured opponents.
A third giant of the game has exited the tournament, following Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis’ premature eliminations, with Gary Anderson the latest to go.
The world champion and Premier League title holder was shocked by Mensur Suljovic in the second round, and the Austrian next takes on past winner here James Wade. Phil Taylor, aiming for his 16th World Matchplay trophy, meanwhile, faces a tough test against Dave Chisnall in the other match on Friday night.
James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
Five-time World Matchplay finalist Wade (8/1 title chance) may be going though a bit of a dry spell in terms of major trophy success, but he is looking on top form in what is no doubt his favourite tournament.
The Machine is the only player in the competition’s 21-year history to have won as well as be runner-up here (Taylor has triumphed in all 15 finals he’s taken part in), and his worst result in Blackpool is exiting at the quarters.
Wade (1/4 odds-on match favourite), still just 32, is next up against Serbian-born journeyman Suljovic (3/1), who arguably caused the shock of the tournament by beating Anderson 13-8 in the last round.
Suljovic has never gone past the quarters at a major tournament before, but has reached that stage in the last two editions of the Coral UK Open, so The Machine knows he can’t take the Austria World Cup of Darts representative lightly.
In fact, Suljovic boasts a 3-2 career record over Wade, and beat him as recently as earlier this month at the Players Championship in Wigan 6-4 as well as in their only major event meeting at the 2010 World Championship 4-2.
But the World Matchplay is a different format to any competition they have faced each other in before, as it will suit Wade better, so back him to triumph 16-12 at an enticing 10/1.
Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
Although Taylor (tournament second-favourite at 2/1), hoping for his eighth straight title here, has come through his first two matches at a loss of just eight legs, he is yet to hit top form by his standards.
Chizzy (9/4 match chance) is likely to be the man that sparks the all-time great into action and, after losing to him in two of their last three meetings, will have to keep on his toes.
The Power (1/3 odds-on favourite) tends to beat Chisnall in major competitions, though, and in their last first-to-16 battle, the 2014 Grand Slam of Darts final, he won 16-13. You can back Taylor to triumph by that scoreline once more at 10/1.
We are yet to witness a nine-darter this tournament, despite there being five in the last five years at the World Matchplay. As The Power came came close a couple of times against Andy Hamilton last time out, take tempting odds of 20/1 for him to achieve his 11th televised career perfect leg.
If you fancy Chisnall to get past the quarters here at the third time of asking and go all to way to claim his first major trophy, after impressing at the Premier League Darts earlier this year, back him at 10/1.