James Wade got us under away in the first of the two semi finals in his encounter with Michael van Gerwen. Wade took the first taking out 56 on tops to go one up. Van Gerwen levelled it off then slotted a 180 on his way to breaking in the next to go 2-1 to the good after Wade missed tops and double ten to hold throw. Van Gerwen produced a stunning 135 with a bull finish to hold his throw and open up a two leg advantage but Wade bounced back with a massive double 5 with his last dart in the next, to keep in touch, 3-2 at the break.
Wade stole a march in the first after the break with a double 12 to break back and tie the scores. A missed 65 by van Gerwen was punished on double 1 by Wade to put him in the lead after winning three legs on the run. The Dutchman was first to the double nailing tops on a 75 finish to clinch the eigth leg and make it four all. A maximum 180 started the next leg for van Gerwen but a patient leg by Wade was completed on double top to put him 5-4 up. Another 180 was on the agenda for van Gerwen and he followed this up with a brilliant shanghai on the 20’s to once again lock the match, 5 all.
A 134 from van Gerwen followed by a 180 put him well clear and gave him a chance to break Wade’s throw but he blew it and Wade stepped in to go one leg up with a fantastic 119 checkout. Van Gerwen took the next with a simple 65 and then capitalised on some slack darts by Wade to break on tops with his last dart. Wade this time weighed in with a maximum and a slip by van Gerwen left him unable to finish. More poor darts followed from Wade and allowed van Gerwen back into the leg where he made no mistake to take his third leg on the spin. Wade had a chance in the next leaving a handy 117 which he coolly put away totally unflustered despite the pressure, making it 8-7.
Van Gerwen produced a 180 followed by a 171 to put him well in control of the leg; which incredibly he managed to win in the mad house. Another 180 for van Gerwen kicked off the next, and another to set up the nine darter. Sadly, he missed the seventh but returned to seal the leg on his next throw. Van Gerwen was only one away from the final and he duly obliged in the next leg after a disastrous 26 from Wade let him in, giving him six darts to finish the game, he made no mistake, taking the semi final 11-7 with a 102.98 average.
The methodical Mensur Suljovic faced Peter Wright for a chance to take on van Gerwen in the final in the second semi. The first two legs went with throw, then Suljovic broke Wright to gain the advantage but Wright showed his fighting spirit to break straight back on double 10 to make it 2-2. Double trouble in the fifth leg as both seemed not want to win it. After a flurry of missed darts from both players, Suljovic steadied himself to squeeze home double 10 with the third dart to make it 3-2 at the break in what was a nervy leg for both players.
A superb 180 from Wright piled the pressure on Suljovic leaving him a big 141 to save the leg. He was unable, wiring double 18 with the last dart and Wright pounced to make it three apiece. Suljovic took the next to break and took out 96 to hold in the next to open up a slight cushion 5-3. Slack darts from Suljovic let in Wright but he squandered a chance on 52, Suljovic snatched the leg on tops to go 6-3 up. Suljovic was twisting and turning on the oche despite his lead and didn’t seem comfortable but Wright wasn’t making life too hard for him, missing tops for the leg with two darts. Suljovic nailed 66 to lead 7-3.
A 180 from Wright put him in control with Suljovic way back, hitting 25 to take the leg in 14 darts. A good 140 start and another 140 left Suljovic on 40 with Wright back in the hundreds. He polished it off first dart to go four legs up. Wright was not only bothered by Suljovic but also a flying insect that broke his concentration in the 13th leg; luckily he settled down and claimed the leg after Suljovic spurned two darts. Wright followed up with his sixth 180 and needed 98 to pull back more ground but he choked and was showing his obvious signs of anger as Suljovic picked off double 10 to go 9-5 to the good. Wright seemed unusually flustered either by Suljovic’s unorthodox style and method of playing or by his own game; whatever it was he fired himself up enough to take the last leg before the break, seeing off 70 to cut the deficit, 9-6.
Wright missed a 140 chance but was allowed to return and break Suljovic’s darts with a smart 80 finish on tops. He proved to be deadly in the next, splattering the problematic insect, much to the crowds approval and throwing some fine darts to bring him within one leg on tops. Wright knocked in a 140 but missed an opportunity to capitalise on Suljovic’s poor darts, only hitting 60. Suljovic produced a sumptuous piece of magic, flinging in a bull finish with his last dart in a 93 combination, Suljovic, just one away from the final. Suljovic had six darts to take out his finish but was unable to with his first three. With 118 left on his return he made no mistake booking his place in his first ever major final with a stunning combination on double 19, ending the match 11-8 with a 97.15 average.
Semi Final Results:
Michael van Gerwen 11-7 James Wade
Mensur Suljovic 11-8 Peter Wright