Players Championship Finals – Quarter-finals Preview
It’s the final day at the Players Championship Finals today with the quarter-finals being played in the afternoon, and the evening session bringing the tournament to it’s conclusion with the semi-finals and final.
Yesterday saw some big names tumble with the likes of Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and James Wade all exiting the tournament, meaning we only have two of the current top eight players in the PDC Order of Merit through to the Last 8 (MVG and Lewis).
One of those two players is Michael van Gerwen, who would back against him going all the way and winning yet another TV tournament?
Here is the quarter-final line-up.
Michael van Gerwen (1) vs Dave Chisnall (8)
Daryl Gurney (28) vs Benito van de Pas (13)
Mensur Suljovic (15) vs Ian White (7)
Adrian Lewis (6) vs Simon Whitlock (19)
Now onto my previews for the four matches.
- Suljovic has won both of his matches at a canter, winning 6-1 and 10-3 against Mervyn King and Michael Smith, having led 4-1 and 5-0 at the first break he has stamped his authority on both games right from the start. He impressively finished his match against Michael Smith winning the last 2 legs in 12 and 10 darts (just missing out on a 9 dart finish). Interestingly he has had a dart at a double in every single leg he has played in the tournament so far.
- This is his 5th TV ranking tournament quarter-final in the last 2 years and his 4th during 2015 having reached this stage of the UK Open and World Matchplay, and going one step further with a semi-final appearance at the World Grand Prix.
- White has had to go right to the wire in both of his matches so far, having won last leg deciders against van Barneveld and Price, apart from when he led 3-1 against Price there has never been more than a leg difference during the whole of those two matches. White threw first in the last leg in both games
- He has the lowest tournament checkout % of any of the 8 players left in the tournament, against Barney he only hit 30% of doubles and was 29.4% against Gerwyn Price.
- This will be White’s 6th appearance in a PDC TV ranking tournament quarter-final; he has appeared in 2 already this year and lost to the eventual winners (MVG at the Matchplay and Thornton at the Grand Prix). He has lost in all 5 previous TV ranking quarter-finals.
- White holds a 2-1 advantage in their head to head meetings and has won the last 2 (both this year, the latest was 6-5 in the semi-final of White’s Pro Tour tournament win in October). Suljovic won when they played in a stage environment on the Euro Tour in 2014 (that was a match played in Suljovic’s home country of Austria).
- Lewis has hit over 50% of his doubles in both matches so far and has actually yet to lose a leg in which he has had an attempt at a double. Lewis impressively saw out the final 3 legs in his second round match against Norris in 11, 11 and 13 darts (two of those against the throw).
- Lewis has now made the quarter-finals in each of the last 3 TV ranking tournaments having previously failed to get past the Last 16 stage at the UK Open, Matchplay and Grand Prix. His last appearance in a TV ranking tournament final came at this event last year.
- He has only been beaten once in his last seven matches against Whitlock and won their most recent encounter at the Sydney Masters back in the summer. Their most high profile match was also won by Lewis when he defeated Whitlock in the final of the European Championship in 2013 (winning 11-6 with an average of 103).
- Whitlock came through a very tense last 16 match against Peter Wright to reach this stage. Having trailed 8-5 Whitlock managed to turn things around, he broke the Wright throw 3 times in a row after that point though did have to survive four match darts from Wright in the final leg.
- This is his first TV ranking quarter-final appearance since the World Matchplay 2014 (an 8 tournament gap). He has won in his last 2 TV ranking quarter finals, those wins were at the Matchplay 2014 vs Wade and the World Championships earlier that year against Ian White.
- The last time he was in the quarter-finals of this tournament was in 2012 when he defeated Gary Anderson 10-8 before losing to eventual winner Phil Taylor in the semis.
Michael van Gerwen
- MVG has yet to have a checkout of over 100 in the tournament so far, with his highest checkout being 94 and his second highest checkout is only 40. He has only hit a double with his first dart in 2 of the 16 legs he has won during the first two matches.
- He has won each of his last 12 PDC TV ranking quarter-final matches. The last time he actually a quarter-final match in a TV ranking event was at the 2013 World Grand Prix to Dave Chisnall.
- He has stretched his winning run on TV to 18 matches; during this 18 match run he has wins against the players ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th in the World.
- This will be the 8th time van Gerwen has played Chisnall in a TV tournament quarter-final. MVG has won 6 of these matches (5 of which have been since the 2014 World Matchplay).
- Chisnall was pushed all the way in the Last 16 by Jamie Lewis, he trailed 8-6 and Lewis missed a dart to go 9-6 ahead which may have put the match out of reach. Chisnall dug in and won 4 legs in a row to sneak through.
- He has failed to the last 4 TV ranking quarter-finals he has played since reaching the final of the World Grand Prix in 2013.It is worth noting that 3 of those defeats were against van Gerwen and the other against Phil Taylor at this year’s World Matchplay.
- His run in this tournament equals his previous best back in 2011 when he lost 9-8 in the quarter-finals to Mark Webster (Webster went on to lose in the final).
- Gurney has reached this stage dropping only 6 legs in his two matches against quality opposition in Kim Huybrechts and Gary Anderson (a former finalist and defending champion). It is fair to say that Anderson didn’t play to his capabilities against Gurney, but it is also worth noting that Gurney was 50% on his doubles in that match and also worth mentioning had the highest first round average when he defeated Kim Huybrechts.
- Gurney is the lowest ranked player left in the tournament; he started this weekend ranked 41 on the PDC Order of Merit. He has reached 2 semi-finals in the Pro Tour this season, but this is the furthest he has ever progressed in a TV tournament during his time in both the PDC and the BDO.
- They have played twice previously and each has a win to their name. Gurney won their last meeting 6-4 on his run to the semi-final of a UK Open qualifier earlier in the season.
Benito van de Pas
- Benito van de Pas has the highest checkout percentage of any player left in the tournament with an excellent checkout rate of 69.6%. 8 of his finishes in his win over James Wade were checkouts of over 70. His 105 average in that impressive second round win is the highest in this year’s tournament so far.
- This is the furthest van de Pas has progressed in a PDC TV ranking tournament, previously the Last 16 at the World Championships was hit best run.
- On the tour this season he has reached two finals and also a further two semi-finals. He has only lost 1 of his last 5 ranking quarter-final matches.
Enjoy the darts!