This is turning into an all-time classic PDC World Championship.
We have eight contenders left. Four are seeds, and four aren’t. Two of the quarter-finalists are making their PDC World Championship debut. And one half of that groundbreaking pair kicks off the Saturday afternoon session schedule at the Ally Pally. Nathan Aspinall was roundly backed to beat Geert Nentjes. Defeating Gerwyn Price, Kyle Anderson and Devon Petersen wasn’t in the script. The Stockport ace now has a seriously realistic chance of being a semi-finalist at the first attempt – or even a Kirk Shepherd-esque finalist.
Since the big seeds fell, Brendan Dolan has been the favourite to win the quarter. The Northern Irishman was in good form before coming down to London. Wins over Yuanjun Liu, Joe Cullen, Mervyn King and Benito van de Pas have provided the momentum. In every case, the History Maker has produced exactly what was required to take the win. With Aspinall playing solid darts, more will be needed from Dolan. For a life-changing semi-final against Michael Smith or Luke Humphries, it’s pivotal that he finds that next level.
Then there’s a dead boring quarter-final between two seeds. What’s all that about? Gary Anderson, the world number four, easily could’ve been amongst the casualties. Jermaine Wattimena could’ve beaten him. Chris Dobey will feel the same. Yet Anderson has endured. Winning ugly – albeit with averages of 97 and 98 – is the mark of a champion. Anderson has been dealing with a back complaint, and could yet prove to be his own worst enemy on stage. But with all the talent and bottle he has, he must feel like a semi-final against Michael van Gerwen is in the offing.
Yet we really should be talking about Dave Chisnall as a potential world champion. He’s only three wins away now. Chizzy almost went out right away, but instead has won ten sets on the bounce. Nobody has matched that. And his average is creeping up. He and Anderson both have a penchant for 180s so the scoring should be spectacular. If the game doesn’t go all the way, it could be because Chisnall, rather than Anderson, has taken the game by the scruff of the neck. And six years on from his stunning debut as a non-seed, it would be quite the story if in this year of shocks, Chisnall was to claim darts’ biggest prize.
Afternoon session schedule
12:45 Nathan Aspinall vs Brendan Dolan (QF)
14:15 Dave Chisnall vs Gary Anderson (QF)
Author: Ed McCosh