World Matchplay Darts – Day Four Preview

The last 16 at the World Matchplay begins this evening, headlined by current world number one and tournament favourite Michael van Gerwen who is on in the third match against Jamie Lewis. The opening match sees Peter Wright face the dangerous Andrew Gilding, the second game on stage could possibly the closest of the night between Simon Whitlock and Ian White. Rounding off the evening is Adrian Lewis against debutant Gerwyn Price.

Here is my preview for the evening with some analysis also.

Wright vs Gilding

Wright was the most impressive performer in the opening round with an average of 108 a checkout % of 50% and checkout scores of 161 and 136 in defeating Kim Huybrechts 10-5.
Gilding came through again a patchy Mervyn King who after a good start in the opening two legs allowed Gilding to take control by winning the next seven legs without reply, King failing to have a shot at double in six of those legs. King did wake up and levelled the game at 8-8 before Gilding won the last two legs to secure his place in the Last 16.

Verdict: Wright has built up plenty of experience on stage over the past 2/3 years and he looked so comfortable in his opening match, Gilding has shown what he is capable of at the UK Open when he averaged 108 in his semi-final against van Gerwen but Wright is playing too well to be phased and the better Gilding plays Wright will raise his game. I predict a 13-8 or 13-9 win for Wright.

Whitlock vs White

Whitlock started as the underdog in his first round match against Klaasen in what was expected to be a close run match. Things didn’t turn out that way though as Whitlock raced into a 5-0 lead with Klaasen not hitting form and scoring well enough to make chances for himself. Whitlock never looked back from that lead and ran out a comfortable 10-4 winner.
Ian White was involved in arguably the most high quality match of the opening round against Stephen Bunting. White also started as the underdog but gave a tremendous performance against an opponent who was also playing to a very high standard, White hit 8 180’s and 3 ton plus checkouts in averaging over 103, had in not been for some missed doubles that average would have been higher still.

Verdict: Whitlock didn’t come into the tournament in good form but his performance against Klaasen and his after match comments about how much he loves the tournament having reached the semi-finals twice suggests his confidence is good. The big question mark surrounding this game is if White can continue the form he showed in his first match, in these major tournaments it can be hard to keep the consistency going and White hasn’t always backed up performances on the TV stage.
When they met previously on the TV stage Whitlock edged their 2014 World Championship quarter-final 5-4 (21 legs to 19), this match has the making of being as close. I am edging towards White in extra legs but I think this really could go either way.

van Gerwen vs J Lewis

Michael van Gerwen ran out a comfortable winner in his opening game against Benito van de Pas, he averaged just short of a 100 and by most people’s standards that would have been considered an excellent performance but van Gerwen is capable of much higher and he certainly will be averaging over 100 before the tournament ends. The most encouraging sign for MVG in the 1st round was his checkout % of 55.6% which was joint highest of the opening round.
Jamie Lewis recovered from a slow start in his match against Justin Pipe, 2-0 down he turned it around to lead 5-2 but was grateful for some missed doubles from Pipe which could have seen Lewis 4-1 down after the first session. Lewis didn’t let his lead slip and took his chances well to see out the match only losing his throw in the opening leg. Significantly Lewis had the joint highest checkout % of the first round (55.6%) along with MVG.

Verdict: It would be a massive upset if Jamie Lewis was to overturn the odds to defeat van Gerwen over this format of best of 25 legs. It is nearly five years since van Gerwen lost in a TV major ranking event to a player outside the top 32 and although Jamie Lewis is improving and gaining experience he doesn’t have the game to match van Gerwen over this distance. I’m going for a 13-5 or 13-6 win for van Gerwen.

A Lewis vs Price

Adrian Lewis made harder work than he might have done in his 10-7 win against Joe Murnan. Lewis looked good in racing into a 7-2 lead and looked like he might get the game finished early, but some slackening off, missed doubles and improvement by Murnan resulted in the game being pegged back to 7-6. Lewis did kick on again and won the match averaging 99, hitting 8 180’s and 50% on the doubles all impressive stats.
Gerwyn Price won his debut match at the World Matchplay defeating the fancied Michael Smith comfortably in the end by a score of 10-4. The damage mainly done in the opening session with Price leading 5-0 and Smith only averaging 84, not having a dart at a double in the opening 4 legs. Smith did rally a little but was generally poor and Price finished well most of the game having a checkout % of 52.6%.

Verdict: One feels this match is mainly about which Adrian Lewis turns up and how long he remains switched on for. There is no doubting his ability and the longer format will give him a chance even if he does drift away for a few legs. Price is an unknown quantity over this long format so hard to truly judge his potential. He has shown on tour he has good capabilities and I would expect him to push into the top 32 before long. At this stage in his career I don’t think Price can beat Lewis over this format, Lewis might not have won as many major tournaments as he should have but he hasn’t lost to a player outside the current top 32 in the rankings since 2011 and I can’t see him exiting here. A Lewis win by 13-7 is my feeling.

There we have it. Hope you enjoyed my preview. Don’t forget to check back for more previews tomorrow and also my twitter account.

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