Ian White and Chris Dobey battle it out for the right to reach their first major PDC semi-final
Watch the World Grand Prix quarter-finals on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 10/10/19 6:15pm
The World Grand Prix is synonymous with upsets and breakthroughs - and on Thursday night, opportunity knocks for either Chris Dobey or Ian White.
The pair clash in one of the more unlikely quarter-finals but having seen off the seeded Michael Smith and Gary Anderson in their section, one will reach a first major televised semi-final.
White battled back from the brink to defeat Joe Cullen in his first-round tussle, before seeing off fifth seed and practice partner Michael Smith to book his place in the last eight while Dobey accounted for fourth seed Anderson.
Although Michael van Gerwen could await in the semi-finals, it would be uncharted territory for either player.
Van Gerwen and Daryl Gurney claimed their first major titles at the Citywest in 2012 and 2017 respectively, Dave Chisnall, Brendan Dolan and Simon Whitlock have all reached finals.
Both White and Dobey sense a major opportunity to make their mark on the big stage and in both cases is perhaps overdue.
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'The Diamond' will be featuring in his eighth major quarter-final and one of the major criticisms levelled at him is his inability to produce on the biggest stages, although he maintains that misfortune has played a significant part in his barren televised run.
"I've just not had the luck in some of the TV tournaments," White told the Darts Show podcast. "I missed double 10 against Gerwyn Price [2017 UK Open}. He takes 160 out and beats me. "
"Stephen Bunting at the Matchplay this year - I missed double eight and hit double 16 and he took out something big, so I just wasn't getting the luck in those games.
"Playing Michael [Smith] the other night, I got a bit of luck when he never got off so hopefully it's going to start turning for me because I've got a lot more experienced over the years."
Dobey is embarking on his third televised quarter-final after following up an emphatic first-round win over Ricky Evans with a sublime performance to defeat two-time world champion Gary Anderson.
World Grand Prix: Thursday's quarter-finals
|Ian White vs Chris Dobey|
|Dave Chisnall vs Nathan Aspinall|
|Michael van Gerwen vs Mervyn King|
|Glen Durrant vs Jermaine Wattimena|
Anderson defeated Dobey in a thrilling third-round clash at last year's World Championship and following that heartbreak, 'Hollywood' was thrilled at seizing the opportunity of redemption.
"I owed Gary [Anderson] one from the World Championship I thought, that was in my head," Dobey told the Darts Show podcast.
"I definitely missed a chance at the World Championship. I felt I played well and I think it was one slack dart that cost me the match. That was put behind us and this is a completely different competition with the double-start.
"I knew I had to be at my best with the doubles to start and last night it went great and I was happy to get the win.
"I always feel confident. I know I've got the game to beat anybody. It's just on the night if it goes and I'm going to prepare myself right, the same way I've been preparing for the last couple of days."
Both players will head into Thursday's tie full of confidence and rightly so, having defeated two of the most explosive stars in world darts.
However, White is refusing to get carried away by the hype and insists he's simply focusing on the immediate task in hand.
"If you had said in the quarter-finals it's me and Chris Dobey you'd have gone no way when you look at all those seeds around us - Gary Anderson and Michael Smith," White said.
"It has opened up a bit but Chris Dobey is a top player. As soon as it opens up and everyone goes 'Ian you've got a chance' I always seem to blow it, but it's always nice when it opens up for you and you've got a good chance of doing something in a TV tournament.
"It's just something you want to do. You want to get to the latter stages if not win it. I always take one game at a time, that's the way I've been brought up in darts. I've got Chris Dobey first."
The pair have only met three times and this will be their first televised duel, although White edges the head-to-head record 2-1, having beaten the Tyneside star in a Pro Tour semi-final back in February.
White is virtually an ever-present in the latter stages of floor events. He has scooped a remarkable 12 non-ranking PDC titles since 2013 and Dobey is full of respect for what the Stoke-on-Trent star has accomplished.
"Ian is one of the most consistent players on the tour, on the floor. He's absolutely fantastic. What he did in his first round against Joe Cullen - that shows what he can do.
"He lost the first set 3-0, he was 2-0 down in the next. It looked like he was going home to be fair. He dug in and went on to win the match so that's what Whitey can do. I will be prepared right for that."
Preparation is referenced consistently by Dobey and it's certainly been the catalyst to his success so far this week.
"Even if I play in the Premier League next year or in years to come, the feeling of playing in it for the first time in front of your home crowd was absolutely unbelievable and it spurred me on to do well."
Dobey on the Premier League...
Despite the fact he's making his debut in the double-start tournament, he reveals he has plenty of experience with the format and has returned to his local league to specifically prepare for this event.
"It's my bread and butter. That's the league I started in - double-in double-out," admits the 29-year-old.
"The past few weeks I've actually gone back to that league coming into this competition to give myself a bit more practice and I think it's paid off in the end.
"I think this kind of competition suits me down to a tee. It's changed a lot of people's lives and if I keep playing the way I am at the minute there's no reason I can't [win it]."
It's also a tournament that appears to suit White. He reached the quarter-finals in Dublin back in 2015 and he's one of the most prolific double hitters on the Pro Tour, which he believes remains integral to his success.
"I still think your bread and butter are the Pro Tours. I keep doing well in them and if you keep doing well in them you've got a good chance in the TV tournaments," the 49-year-old added.
"Most of my ranking money is all Pro Tours because everyone keeps saying you're not getting anywhere in the TV tournaments. Well if I'm number 10 in the world then I'm doing well on the floor.
"If I can have the TV runs like I'm having this week for the Worlds or something like that, I'm not going to be number 10 for long. I'm going to be number 7 or 6 or that area, so that's where we want to be."
Dobey is similarly ambitious and having featured as the first of nine contenders in this year's Premier League, he admits it gave him a taste of stardom - a feeling he is keen to embrace on a more regular basis.
"The experience was absolutely fantastic and I probably won't experience anything like that anymore," said the North East star.
"Even if I play in the Premier League next year or in years to come, the feeling of playing in it for the first time in front of your home crowd was absolutely unbelievable and it spurred me on to do well.
"I took that confidence from that night into the next few competitions. My form has been hit and miss but I feel my game is coming back."
Five seeds have already crashed out so both men know a chance presents itself, but for one it will end with defeat at an all-to-familiar stage.
Coverage of the World Grand Prix continues on Thursday with the quarter-finals live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm and stick with us through to Saturday's final from the Citywest Hotel