Day 5 of 2013 Darts World Matchplay came to a close Wednesday as the last of eight competitors notched a spot in the upcoming quarterfinals, set to take place on Thursday and Friday.
There have been few surprises to this point, but that doesn’t mean the tournament hasn’t been exciting.
Of the top 10 seeds, only Wes Newton (No. 7) and Raymond van Barneveld (No. 8) have been eliminated, leaving a bevy of talented darts players to challenge for the title.
That includes arguably the best player in the history of the sport.
No. 1 seed Phil Taylor escaped upset in the second round with a gritty 14-12 victory over Terry Jenkins, prolonging his tournament run and setting up what could be his sixth straight championship in the event. With almost 200 tournament victories to his name, all eyes will be on Taylor as play resumes Thursday.
|(1) Phil Taylor||vs.||(9) Justin Pipe|
|(5) Simon Whitlock||vs.||(4) James Wade|
|(6) Andy Hamilton||vs.||(3) Adrian Lewis|
|(2) Michael van Gerwen||vs.||(10) Dave Chisnall|
Let’s take a look at each of the eight remaining players and break down how they got to this point in the 2013 Darts World Matchplay event.
Phil Taylor (1) vs. Justin Pipe (9)
With Taylor closing in on another championship, the rest of the field should be a little worried. And no player should be more concerned than Justin Pipe.
Pipe beat van Barneveld 13-9 last round, but he’s set to square off with a man who has won 13 World Matchplay championships and is still going strong.
Taylor did need a thrilling finish to escape the last round, but there’s nothing to suggest to best in the sport is losing his winning touch.
Anything can happen, but it probably won’t. SkyBet lists Taylor as a 1-10 favorite to triumph on Thursday and Pipe as a 6-1 underdog. While it was a good run, Pipe isn’t likely to make it to the semifinals.
Simon Whitlock (5) vs. James Wade (4)
When the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds square off Thursday, there isn’t going to be a clear-cut favorite.
Simon Whitlock and James Wade have both made impressive runs thus far, and while each player is in top form, history is on neither player’s side.
In head-to-head matchups between the two players, Wade has come out ahead 15 times, with Whitlock taking the other 10 matches. While Wade won their last contest, Whitlock took down the previous four.
SkyBet lists Wade as an 8-13 favorite following his recent success in the Matchplay tournament. He’ll look to make his sixth appearance in the finals in the last eight years. But even if he gets through Whitlock, he’ll face an even more difficult challenge at the top of the bracket in Taylor.
Andy Hamilton (6) vs. Adrian Lewis (3)
Andy Hamilton notched a 13-7 victory on Wednesday to set up a showdown with Adrian Lewis, also fresh off a decisive victory in the previous round with a 13-5 drubbing of Brendan Dolan.
Both players are in peak form, and they also have quite the history.
Lewis has gotten the better of Hamilton in each of their last four head-to-head matchups, the last of which was a 10-3 victory in the PDC Premier quarterfinals on July 7. With that win fresh in his mind, Lewis will have plenty of confidence heading into this match.
Lewis spoke about his victory last round and also hinted at the difficult in facing Hamilton, as quoted by PDC.tv:
It's great to be through and I'm still in there fighting. I handled the pace of the game well against Brendan and it was a good performance because you get nothing easily against him. It will be the same against Andy Hamilton in the quarter-finals because he's one of the most solid players in the game.
Hamilton admitted he’s very relaxed, however, and seems extremely confident in his chances, despite his recent loss to Lewis:
It's great to be through to the quarter-finals but I want to take the next step now. It's all well and good being a top-eight player and a regular quarter-finalist, but hopefully there's a trophy with my name on it waiting for me in the near future, maybe even this weekend. I'm really relaxed and I can't wait for the quarter-finals now because my game's in good shape; I was solid and consistent.
He’ll have to continue playing “solid and consistent” Friday if he hopes to change his fortunes against Lewis.
Michael van Gerwen (2) vs. Dave Chisnall (10)
Michael van Gerwen was absolutely dominant last round with a 13-3 victory over Peter Wright, and the No. 2 seed should be a huge favorite to triumph in the quarterfinals against the 10th-seeded Dave Chisnall.
Chisnall’s victory wasn’t as easy, however. Jamie Caven made Chisnall’s road to the quarterfinals a bumpy one, surging back in the second leg to force a brilliant final-leg performance for the world No. 10.
As quoted by PDC.tv, Chisnall was relieved to be through the round and into the final eight:
It was an exciting game and it's brilliant to be through. I felt comfortable early on but Jamie came back really strongly. It was a tense game, and it was only when I got to 12-10 that I felt I had Jamie, and I knew I had to finish it then. It's probably my best performance in a televised game and it shows again that I can play with the best and I'll try to do the same against Michael van Gerwen on Friday. We've never played on TV before and it should be a great match.
He’ll try his best, but Chisnall is by no means a sure bet to advance.
Van Gerwen also has history on his side, holding a 4-1 advantage over his challenger in head-to-head play. Expect the world No. 2 to make quick work of Chisnall in this match with his sights set on a finals appearance.