2016 World Matchplay – Day Eight Preview

The 2016 World Matchplay is now down to the semi-final stage with the current top four in the PDC rankings still in the tournament. Last night saw Taylor and Anderson pushed all the way by King and Beaton but they just managed to produce the winning darts when it really mattered.

Here are my previews for the two matches tonight.

van Gerwen v Lewis

van Gerwen

  • Defending champion Michael van Gerwen continued his untroubled passage through the tournament with a comfortable 16-9 win over Chisnall in the last eight, van Gerwen raced into a 10-2 lead against a very out of sorts opponent, although Chisnall did rally a little there was never any danger for van Gerwen who never hit top form during the match.
  • His winning average of 98.72 against Chisnall was actually his second lowest average at the Matchplay since 2009.
  • This is his 4th consecutive year in the semi-finals; on his first appearance back in 2013 he lost 17-5 to Adrian Lewis in a high quality match. His wins in the semi-finals have been against Simon Whitlock (2014) and Peter Wright (2015).
  • The last time MVG lost to a player who wasn’t a top 3 seed was way back in 2008 when he lost to 10th seed Wayne Mardle.
  • This is his 19th PDC TV ranking semi-final appearance, all since he appeared in the World Grand Prix semi-finals in October 2012. He has only lost in 4 of his previous 18 TV ranking semi-finals and Lewis inflicted 2 of those defeats.

Lewis

  • Adrian Lewis had a real tussle against Peter Wright in his quarter-final, Lewis eventually winning 16-14. During the first half of the match both players were struggling to find consistency and after 15 legs they were both averaging in the 80’s. That all changed in the second half of the game, it was a run of 5 winning legs for Lewis when he was 10-8 down which put him in a winning position he never let slip, despite a couple of shaky moments near the end.
  • Lewis finished with an end average of 97.3 against Wright but over the last 15 legs he averaged over 106.
  • The average of 97.3 was his highest of this year’s tournament and his overall tournament average is only 92.75.
  • This is his 4th appearance in the semi-finals at the Matchplay having lost his first two against James Wade (2007 & 2011). Three years ago he defeated van Gerwen 17-15 at this stage to make it into the final.
  • This is his 16th PDC TV ranking semi-final, he has only lost in 4 of the previous 15 and in fact only lost 2 of the last 10. Lewis most recently reached the finals of the Players Championship Finals and World Championship at the back end of last year and start of 2016.

Head to Head

As you would expect van Gerwen and Lewis have plenty of history in terms of previous meetings. Overall they have played 43 times with van Gerwen having the advantage 28 wins to 13 (they have also drawn twice). Lewis did win the last time they met though that was only in a first to four leg match at the World Cup (it was the crucial World Cup winning match though). Prior to that MVG had won 7 of their previous 8 meetings. Since losing to Lewis at the Matchplay in 2013 van Gerwen has won his last 7 TV semi-finals against Jackpot. Their most recent meeting in a singles tournament was in the semi-finals of the Premier League in May when MVG won 10-4.

Verdict

van Gerwen has coasted through to the semi-finals whereas Lewis has struggled at times and barring the last 15 legs against Wright he hasn’t shown what he is really capable of. When they met in the semi-finals of the Premier League back in May it was a tame performance from Lewis as MVG ran away with the match, their meeting in the World Cup was only over a very short format and wasn’t a great performance from either as they both missed plenty of doubles and averaged in the 80’s. At his best Lewis has proved he can defeat van Gerwen but it’s been MVG with the upper hand the majority of times over the last 3 years.

If Lewis continues where he left off against Wright he has a chance of really pressuring van Gerwen, I just feel that van Gerwen will be well up for this match and will respond to what Lewis throws at him. I think van Gerwen will win but I don’t think it will be a comfortable win.

 

Anderson v Taylor

Anderson

  • Anderson had his first real test of this year’s tournament during his 16-13 win over Beaton in the last round. It didn’t look like being that way when he led 8-3 but a combination of some wayward darts and missing doubles by Anderson and a rise in Beaton’s game saw Beaton level at 12-12. Anderson had to dig deep and he did just that winning 4 of the final 5 legs to get through 16-13.
  • His performance vs Beaton was statistically his worst in the tournament so far, he hit his lowest average (96.52 having averaged over 100 in rounds 1 & 2), his checkout % was only 37% (he went into the match with 61.8% for the tournament), his ratio of 180’s was also below his previous two matches.
  • This is only Anderson’s 2nd appearance in a Matchplay semi-final and it’s also the second time he will play Taylor in a Matchplay semi-final having met in 2014 when Taylor edged a 17-15 thriller.
  • This is Anderson’s 10th PDC TV ranking semi-final, he has won each of his last 4 and has gone on to win the tournament after winning 3 of his last 4 TV ranking semi-finals.
  • His last defeat in a non-ranking TV semi-final was against Taylor back in May in the Premier League.

Taylor

  • Taylor was also pushed very hard in the quarter-finals; he finally defeated Mervyn King 16-14 after been given a very tough game from King. Taylor had led 5-2 early on but King took advantage of some Taylor misses to lead 7-6, from that point on Taylor was never in the lead until he won 3 legs in a row from 13-12 down, the catalyst was a tremendous 10 dart leg backed up by a 12 dart leg to break the King throw. Although King did pull a leg back to make it 14-15 Taylor hit the winning double at his first attempt to go through a 16-14 winner.
  • Taylor’s scoring against King was his best in the tournament so far, he hit 14x 180’s (bear in mind MVG and Anderson have only hit 17 in the entire tournament and Lewis only 16). Taylor’s total 180 count in the tournament is 25.
  • This will be his 19th Matchplay semi-final appearance, of the previous 18 he has won 15 times. He lost in the semi-finals last year to James Wade and his last Matchplay defeat prior to that was in the semi-finals against Terry Jenkins back in 2007. Overall 3 of his last 4 defeats at the Matchplay have been in semi-finals and those 3 players all went on to lose in the final.
  • Incredibly the last 5 players to have defeated Taylor at the Matchplay have all gone on to lose in the final.
  • This is only his 5th TV ranking tournament semi-final since he won the Matchplay in 2014, in his most recent TV ranking tournament he lost to MVG in the UK Open semi-finals in March of this year.

Head to Head

This will be the 53rd match between Anderson and Taylor, of the previous 52 it’s Taylor who has the better record with 36 wins to 14 (they have also drawn twice). Anderson won their last encounter when he beat Taylor in the semi-finals at the Dubai Masters in May, prior to that Taylor had won 8 of their last 10 matches. They have played 3 times in TV ranking tournaments since their 2014 Matchplay semi-final and Anderson has won all 3 matches.

Verdict

Both players had a tough match last night in their quarter-finals; they have plenty of experience of playing long format matches in consecutive days so it shouldn’t be a problem. Both players have scored well throughout the tournament but Anderson’s double success % is a whole 10% higher than Taylor’s. Anderson did look a bit shakier on doubles last night than in previous matches but Taylor has had his issues on doubles in 2 of his 3 matches in this year’s Matchplay.

It’s a very tough match to call and it really has the makings of a tight semi-final, if anything I would just give the edge to Anderson but if Taylor’s doubling does click enough he has the scoring to have a real chance of beating Anderson.

 

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