Peter Wright (2/1 to win the tournament – outright) and Michael van Gerwen set up a mouth-watering clash in the semi-finals of the Betfred World Matchplay after victories on Friday at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Friday 23rd Results:
Peter Wright 16-7 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 16-9 Nathan Aspinall
Saturday 24th Order of Play:
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Krzysztof Ratajski (19:00)
Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen (21:00)
2017 runner-up Wright averaged over 100 in a strong display as he swept aside Smith. He is hoping to win the Phil Taylor Trophy for the first time in his career, but to do so, he will need to overcome a rampant Van Gerwen.
Wright showed some of his best form as he won seven legs on the spin to move into a 13-4 lead. Smith tried his best to bounce back, but Wright had too much class for his rival.
When asked about his form, Wright says his game is in a great place, but he claims he can still improve heading into the final four.
He told the PDC: “I didn’t hit as many 180s as I thought I would, and my doubles weren’t great either, but it’s a win, and I’m into the semi-finals.
“Mentally and physically, I’m in the best place ever, and I’m looking forward to the semi-final. Everybody wants to win this one, and it would be amazing if I could do that.”
Van Gerwen also recorded an emphatic win on Friday, although, in his 16-9 victory over Aspinall, both players missed 27 darts at a double.
The Dutchman always comes alive at this stage of a competition, and even though he wasted opportunities, he says he knows what he needs to do to beat ‘Snakebite’ (Van Gerwen evens, Wright 4/5 – match betting).
He said: “It’s going to be a lovely battle because we’re both phenomenal players who don’t want to lose to each other.
“It’s going to be fantastic, and we know what we’re both capable of, so I have to do the right things to make it difficult for him. He’s playing really good darts, but he hasn’t played me yet.”
Dimitri Van den Bergh and Krzysztof Ratajski will square off in the other semi-final after wins over Gerwyn Price and Callan Rydz, respectively.