Semi-final Saturday at the World Matchplay
Mardle: "Peter Wright is probably that little bit more consistent than Mensur Suljovic - that's why he's the world number two."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 28/07/18 11:26pm
Gary Anderson and Peter Wright remain on course to collide in the World Matchplay final, as they take on Jeffrey de Zwaan and Mensur Suljovic respectively on semi-final Saturday at the Winter Gardens.
The four players are battling it out for the right to be crowned the winner of the renamed 'Phil Taylor Trophy' and we have two intriguing semi-finals in store.
The first semi-final sees last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright take on Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic.
Wright is the highest-ranked player left in the tournament, but he has lost each of his last three meetings against 'The Gentle'.
However, 'Snakebite' produced a clinical display to book his semi-final spot, demolishing Simon Whitlock 16-5 in the quarter-finals.
The Scot started sluggishly but soon clicked into gear; averaging 101.35 and boasting a remarkable 76 per cent checkout success rate to dismantle the Australian.
Meanwhile, Suljovic secured a spot in his maiden World Matchplay semi-final with a battling 16-10 win over Darren Webster.
'The Demolition Man' frustrated Suljovic in the opening exchanges, but the Austrian upped the ante in the closing stages, winning five of the final six legs to prevail with a 98.03 average.
However, Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle is predicting a close encounter between the two major winners.
"Mensur is one of those players when he drops off, he somehow finds a way of bringing himself back in it," he said.
"He was 4-1 up today, then it was 5-5 and he even alluded to that scoreline, so he was obviously feeling the pressure then, but it's a long format.
"It's another long format that they've got in the semi-finals and there's going to be peaks and troughs, there's going to be darts at double missed. I don't envisage Peter being 76 per cent on the doubles again.
"Mensur was 55 per cent so between them, the doubling is what's getting them through and what's giving them the wins. Something will have to give.
"Peter Wright is probably that little bit more consistent than Mensur Suljovic - that's why he's the world number two. You just feel that it's going to go a long way. I don't see that kind of scoreline tomorrow."
In Saturday's second semi-final, tournament favourite Gary Anderson takes on debutant Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Anderson progressed through to the last four after defeating Joe Cullen 19-17 in a pulsating tie-break, in one of the greatest games ever seen on the Winter Gardens stage.
'The Flying Scotsman' produced a magical nine-darter in the fourth leg of the contest, but had to survive two match darts from Cullen before booking his spot in the semi-finals.
However, Anderson was full of praise for De Zwaan, who is appearing in his first major televised semi-final.
"Next up it's Jeffrey, who has been the player of the tournament for me," Anderson said. "Whoever wins this tournament will have to beat him. He's come here keeping quiet and just here to play darts like it should be.
"I've got another game to play. I'm not one of those players who can see into the future. Keep your mouth shut and play the game how it should be played.
"I love the look of my new darts, but I think I may need to tinker with the flights."
However, the two-time world champion will face a tough test against De Zwaan, who produced a sensational display to continue his dream Matchplay debut.
The young Dutchman dumped out two-time world champions Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis to reach the quarter-finals, before adding Dave Chisnall to his growing list of big-name scalps at the Winter Gardens.
'The Black Cobra' won nine of the final 10 legs to dispatch Chisnall 16-8 with a 103.22 average, and the Dutchman is riding the crest of a wave by the seaside.
"Hopefully I'm going to get through to the final. The dream goes on for me. I don't want to stop dreaming," De Zwaan said.
"Every game I feel more confident, I feel like I can beat anyone. This week keeps getting better and better for me. I'm going to celebrate this win and then prepare for the rest of the tournament - I believe I can win this title.
"I'm feeling really comfortable on the stage and if you're playing like that then you can achieve a 105 average all the time. It should be a good game against Gary. Let's hope for a couple more nine-darters."
Join us for further coverage of the World Matchplay on Saturday, July 28 at 7pm on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event from 9.30pm. The darts will run through to the final on Sunday, July 29.
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