World Matchplay 2020: Schedule and preview Friday session with Lewis and Durrant in Quarter-Finals
Friday's fixtures take us one step closer to identifying the 2020 World Matchplay champion.
We already know who'll compete in the first semi-final; Michael Smith will meet Gary Anderson in a hotly contested clash between the 2019 World Matchplay runner-up and the 2018 winner. Krzysztof Ratajski's outstanding James Wade impression wasn't quite enough, while Simon Whitlock leaves us with memories of an MVG-toppling and an innovative 120 checkout (as well as fragments of what used to be dartboards).
We move onto the Friday showdowns. In a madcap year, Adrian Lewis is providing a dash of nostalgia by mounting a serious assault on the title. Fresh from his highest TV average in over 18 months (credit to Christopher Kempf for that stat bomb), Jackpot is two wins away from his first major final in nigh on four years. Lewis, looking trimmer since lockdown, seems more assured and fired up. It really could be his year - couldn't it?
The Stoke star has averaged well in both his games; what he may find a little jarring is that he struggled to shake off Steve Beaton and Danny Noppert, despite neither of the pair really hitting their stride. What he does have going in his favour is some truly prodigious scoring - even with a lack of 180s against Noppert, Lewis kept the treble beds busy. It could mean an extra handful of pivotal darts at the double, if he keeps it up.
Can Van den Bergh make his first major Semi-Final?
Dimitri van den Bergh is one of the best players to watch - and one of the worst. Sure, the Belgian is a massive talent, capable of astronomical averages. He is now into a third consecutive PDC major quarter-final, and isn't going to be overawed by anyone. But watching Van den Bergh barely contain his anxiety on the oche is an ordeal in itself. The fact he stabilised himself enough to nail the winning madhouse finish against Joe Cullen is a major credit to himself.
The Dream Maker is racking up the quarter-final appearances, but is struggling to convert them into semis or finals. That's particularly true of the big TV majors; he's yet to make the final four in any. His targets will be consistency and mental fortitude over a best-of-16 format that ultimately separates the wheat from the chaff at some stage or another. Like Lewis, the talent has never been doubted. Between the uproariously loud Lewis and the muted, self-critical van den Bergh, the winner of a mental battle will emerge and put themselves within touching distance of the final.
Durrant versus Van der Voort
Glen Durrant, despite being 15th seed, was installed as the bookies' favourite before the quarter-finals kicked off. Why is that? For one, the seeding is a false flag, due to Duzza being 18 months into his PDC career. The Middlesbrough man will be in the top ten before long. He has consistently gone deep into the big tournaments since starting his PDC journey, and bookies, pundits and punters alike strongly believe that he can go even further.
His 2020 World Matchplay form points to success as well. For all that was brilliant about the first round thrashing of Jeffrey de Zwaan, the real mark of a potential champion was the 11-8 win over Peter Wright. When the world champion averages 100 and doesn't do much wrong, that normally means a Snakebite success. But Durrant stayed focused, and played that metronomic game that keeps wearing down the game's biggest names.
Vincent van der Voort is more of a fast-and-furious type. We might even get to see one of his patented sarcastic looks at his watch while Durrant goes through his motions. But the only person he gets truly frustrated at is Vincent van der Voort . In recent years, the Dutch veteran has thrown away good chances to prevail, but that doesn't look to be happening here at all.
The 11-5 win over Daryl Gurney was right up there with the most impressive performances of the World Matchplay so far. If racing into a 5-0 lead didn't seal the deal, it was the 52 per cent success rate on doubles that rapidly winnowed down Gurney's window of opportunity. Van der Voort will feel that a second PDC major semi-final is fully within his grasp, but he'll have to deal with an opponent who simply refuses to go away.
Click here for more information about the World Matchplay, including the tournament bracket, TV coverage and prize money breakdown.
Schedule World Matchplay 2020
Thursday July 23
Krzysztof Ratajski (93.82) 13-16 (98.32) Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock (95.48) 12-16 (98.51) Gary Anderson
Friday July 24