After another thrilling night at the Winter Gardens, we have our first two semi-finalists of the World Matchplay. Adrian Lewis and defending champion Michael van Gerwen will now lock horns on Saturday night, in a game that will be played at a frantic pace in the sweltering heat of the Winter Gardens.
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
This was a game of two halves, as the first 12 legs of this affair were substandard with both players only averaging in the early 90s. After then the pair served up a treat for the Blackpool crowd, as the temperature was sent through the roof with some sensational darts from both players. Peter Wright charged into a 10-8 lead with back to back 12 dart legs, but this only seemed to bring out the best in Adrian Lewis, Jackpot replied in kind with 5 legs on the spin in 12, 14,11,11, and another 12. Peter Wright stopped the Jackpot surge with a 12 dart leg of his own. At this point, the pair were trading 180s for fun as the atmosphere was sent into orbit. Lewis missed a match dart with the scores at 15-13, but Wright got back within 1 leg. Lewis opened with his ninth maximum and took out 81 to book his place in the semi-final.
“It was a battle,” Lewis told Skysports. “We started slowly, but it ended up being an awesome game and in the last ten to 15 legs I thought I played really well, and I had to do that. The first half of the match we weren’t scoring or finishing well, but the second half was fantastic, and it was like someone flicked a switch on both of us. The last leg was great, and it was a massive double 12 for me. Winning this tournament is my main target, and I want to perform all the way through the match in the semis because I’ll have to do. I can relax and enjoy the semi-final, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
This had been a much-anticipated clash after the pair had been fantastic in their opening two games of the World Matchplay. Sadly, Chisnall fluffed his lines and failed to produce his best darts in a one-sided game. Michael broke the Chisnall throw in the open leg of the match. MvG won the first session 4-1 as he was only averaging around the 90 mark, showing how far off the pace Chizzy was. The second mini session was much of the same as van Gerwen upped his game leaving Chizzy scratching his head to what was going on. At one point MvG found himself 8 legs clear at 10-2 in what was turning into a very one-sided quarter-final. At this point, Michael seemed to switch think he was home and hosed. Chisnall then won 4 of the next 6 legs to make the score 13-8. The 22nd leg showed how much van Gerwen was almost playing with his prey after Chisnall looked set to break the MvG throw. Michael just nonchalantly takes out 130 to leave Chizzy with a sarcastic smile on his face. Michael wrapped up 16-9 victory, to book a showdown with Adrian Lewis.
“I wasn’t at my best tonight, but I did enough to win the game, Dave didn’t turn up early on, but I did the right things and the right time to win the game. I didn’t play fantastic darts, and I made a couple of mistakes but I won the game, and that’s the important thing. I feel comfortable, but I’ll have to concentrate in the semi-finals and be focused and punish Adrian when he makes mistakes because he always tests me. I’m looking forward to it.” Van Gerwen told Skysports.
The semi-final showdown was spiced up as Michael told Skysports “If I play my best Adrian Lewis can’t reach my level.” The pair have already been involved in some of the best games of darts seen on TV; now the semi-final could be another. Having not missed a game at this year’s Matchplay I think Jackpot will need to find a performance that we have seen for sometime from him. Lewis has started slow in many of his games and can’t be giving Michael a 5 leg lead and have to try and claw it back.
By Phill Barrs