2016 World Matchplay – Day Seven Preview

Tonight (Friday) at the World Matchplay it’s the turn of the two quarter-finals from the bottom half of the draw. Last night Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen booked their place in the semi-finals. Mervyn King and Steve Beaton face the huge task of stopping Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson from joining them.

Here are my previews for tonight’s matches.

King v Taylor

King

  • Mervyn King has made it through to his first quarter-final at the Matchplay since he reached the semi-finals in 2009. The man who ended his run on that occasion is the man he is facing here, Phil Taylor. The score in that semi-final was 17-6 to Taylor.
  • His average in the last round against Dolan was 10 points lower than in his opening round win against Wade (a drop from 99 to 89), his finishing was also well down on the figures he set in round one, he just missed 5 darts at double to win 10 legs vs Wade, he missed 17 doubles to win 11 legs against Dolan.
  • King is no stranger to having played at the business end of big tournaments having reached a number of major finals and semi-finals during his career. This is his first ranking TV quarter-final since March 2015 though and only his 2nd in his last 11.

Taylor

  • Taylor booked his place in the last 8 with a comprehensive 11-5 win over Mensur Suljovic, he took control of the game early on leading 3-0 and although Suljovic pulled back to 3-2 at the first break Taylor won 4 legs in a row at the resumption to lead 7-2 and never looked likely to let the lead slip. His end average was over 101 and he hit over 47% of his double attempts.
  • Taylor’s 11-5 win against Suljovic maintained his incredible record of having not lost before the quarter-finals of the Matchplay since 1996 when he was defeated by eventual champion Peter Evison.
  • In 20 previous quarter-final matches at the World Matchplay he has won 18 and lost only 2. The last time anyone got within 5 legs of him in a quarter-final match was on 2006 in a match where Priestley pushed Taylor hard before losing 16-13.
  • Taylor’s last major TV ranking win came at the Matchplay in 2014, since he won that title he has played in 8 TV ranking quarter-finals and has lost in 4 of them. The amazing stat is that prior to that he had lost only 2 of his last 30 matches in TV ranking quarter-finals.
  • This match is a significant match for Taylor at the Matchplay as it will be his 100th match at the tournament, he has won 92 of the 99 he has played!

Head to Head

King and Taylor have met 40 times over the years with Taylor having a dominant record of 30 wins to 8 (they drew twice in the Premier League). King did actually win their last meeting which was in a ProTour event back in April, that was the first time they had met since 2014 and King’s first win over Taylor since May 2013. King has had some high profile wins over Taylor such as the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals in 2011 and the semi-finals of the Premier League in 2009 but Taylor has pretty much dominated their TV meetings. They have only met 8 times since 2011 which isn’t much considering they played 23 times in the years 2009-2011.

Verdict

Phil Taylor starts as a very big favourite in this match and it is pretty hard to disagree with those odds. His record at the World Matchplay is superb and he is so comfortable on the Winter Gardens stage. Taylor finishing hasn’t been at its best so far but he did show some improvement during the Suljovic match. His scoring has been excellent though and this will give him plenty of opportunities to break throw. If Mervyn King can start this match like he did against James Wade he will be able to keep with Taylor in the early legs but it will be hard for him to maintain such a standard across such a long format match, King’s back isn’t in the best of conditions and he won’t have played a match of this length on the TV stage for some time.

In summary, I think King will struggle to match Taylor over a match of this distance and I think Taylor will progress to the semi-finals comfortably in the end.

 

Anderson v Beaton

Anderson

  • Anderson gave another very confident performance in round two were he defeated Terry Jenkins 11-6, given that Jenkins had won 12 of their previous 13 meetings it shows how impressive the Anderson performance was. His tournament average is over 101 and his checkout % a superb 61.8%.
  • This is only his 2nd ever appearance in the quarter-finals at the World Matchplay, his only previous match at this stage was in 2014; he defeated Adrian Lewis 16-8 and averaged over 100 in the process.
  • This will be Anderson’s 17th appearance in a TV ranking quarter-final in the PDC. He has won each of his 6 last matches at this stage (starting with his 2014 QF win at the Matchplay).

Beaton

  • Beaton produced another exceptional display of finishing in his round two win over Michael Smith and his all-round performance stepped up a level from his game against Klaasen. He averaged just under 100 with just 6 darts missed at double (64.71% success rate). His doubling % is second only to Anderson after two rounds played.
  • This is only his 3rd time in the quarter-finals at the World Matchplay, he previously made the last 8 in 1998 and 2001 (the first two years he played in the tournament). In 2001 he beat Cliff Lazarenko 16-7 at this stage of the event.
  • Beaton has defeated the number 10 seed and number 7 seed this week, overall his last 6 match wins at the World Matchplay have all been against seeded players.
  • The last time he defeated a top 2 seed at the Matchplay was 2001 when he beat number 1 seed Peter Manley in round one.
  • This is his first time in a TV quarter-final since reaching the semi’s at the Grand Slam in 2010 when he beat Taylor at this stage of the tournament.

Head to Head

Anderson and Beaton have met 15 times previously; Anderson has the edge with 10 wins to 5. Their last meeting was actually at last year’s Matchplay when Anderson defeated Beaton 10-4 in round one, Beaton only averaged 89 and missed 20 darts at a double in the 14 legs played (he has only missed 15 doubles in 34 legs during this tournament so far!). Beaton’s last win against Anderson was in June 2014 in the quarter-finals of a Euro Tour event.

Verdict

This quarter-final contains the two best finishers of the tournament so far and if they continue in the same fashion here we should be in for one cracking game. Anderson is brimming with confidence at the moment, winning recent World Series tournaments has given him an extra boost it appears and he has looked completely in control of his game so far this week. Beaton has rolled back the years producing some excellent darts and upsetting the odds in his opening two matches, he has reached 2 ranking finals this season and the confidence is shining through.

I think Anderson’s scoring might just be too much for Beaton; Anderson has averaged over 113 across his first 9 darts whereas Beaton is averaging 99 on that same statistic. Anderson has been consistently hitting two trebles on his scoring visits and I can’t see Beaton living with that over such a long format. I hope Beaton continues the form he has shown so far as he would be capable of giving Anderson something to think about, but I think Beaton has to raise his level above what he has been playing to compete. It’s Anderson going through to the next round in my opinion.

 

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