Gary Anderson sets up World Matchplay final against Mensur Suljovic
By Raz Mirza at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Last Updated: 29/07/18 8:31pm
Gary Anderson set up a World Matchplay final against Mensur Suljovic as both players won their respective semi-finals at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Saturday.
World No 4 Anderson fired in 16 maximums and averaged 106.06 to defeat giant-killer Jeffrey de Zwaan 17-12, while Suljovic overcame last year's finalist Peter Wright 17-13.
'The Flying Scotsman' went against the surprise package of the week, De Zwaan, and the youngster made a nerveless start by sinking a magnificent 122 in the first leg. But Anderson responded in the seventh leg with a showboat double-double 96 finish before an 11-dart leg put him 5-3 up.
The 22-year-old Dutch star, who arrived in Blackpool ranked 68 in the world and a 750/1 outsider for glory, was not going away and hit back by winning the next two legs, including back-to-back 180s and a 41 checkout in the 10th leg.
Anderson, who struck with a magical nine-darter before requiring overtime to see off the impressive Joe Cullen in an epic quarter-final, pinned D16 against the darts to move 8-7 ahead in what was turning into another dramatic encounter.
Both men were averaging over a ton and firing in a flurry of maximums, but it was two-time former world champion Anderson who maintained his two-leg advantage at 11-9.
Tournament debutant De Zwaan, who stunned Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall to reach his first televised semi-final, was struggling to stay in touch with the relentless Scot and Anderson stretched his lead to 14-9 with a pulsating 152 and then a devastating 112 to move on the verge of reaching the final.
He took out a ton to move one leg away and despite some late resistance from De Zwaan, Anderson completed the job on his throw with his third match dart.
"It was a good performance," Anderson told Sky Sports. "Every dart player wants to win everything but we'll see how it goes tomorrow."
World Matchplay Darts - Saturday July 28 (Best of 33 legs)
|Peter Wright||13-17||Mensur Suljovic|
|Jeffrey de Zwaan||12-17||Gary Anderson|
Suljovic reached the final of the World Matchplay for the very first time with a 17-13 win against world No 2 Peter Wright in just under two hours.
"It's a brilliant feeling," said Suljovic, who averaged 90.16. "It was a very, very hard game because the doubles were not coming."
He later added in his press conference, "Everything is good now. My hotel room is fine but next year the family are coming so we have already booked another hotel."
Wright made an awkward start by splitting the shaft of his darts doing a 'Robin Hood' twice in his first six throws. After a quick repair job he nailed a 44 finish to snatch a scrappy opener and took a slender 3-2 advantage into the first break.
Serbian-born Austrian Suljovic, bounced back with three legs on the trot for a 4-3 lead before 'Snakebite' struck with a magnificent 136 to break straight back.
Suljovic, who has won seven of the last nine meetings between the pair, slotted D8 to lead by two legs and then took out 66 to take a three-leg lead and he restored his advantage with a 17-dart leg to lead 9-6.
Scotland's Wright, bidding to go one better than 12 months ago when he was runner-up to Phil Taylor, nailed his first maximum in 23 legs en route to a crucial break back and he restored parity at 10-10 after pinning tops.
Suljovic took out a timely 151 checkout to move ahead and two missed darts at D10 by Wright proved costly as the 46-year-old took the leg with D2 and he then sunk D3 to open the gap to 14-10 with the finishing line in sight.
The big Austrian missed seven darts at double for another break of throw and was made to pay as Wright tiptoed up to find tops and keep his hopes alive in the 25th leg.
But despite a few late nerves, Suljovic managed to cross the line in a match which never really caught fire to take his place in Sunday's showpiece.
World Matchplay Darts - Sunday July 29 (Best of 35 legs)
|Gary Anderson||v||Mensur Suljovic|
Join us for coverage of the World Matchplay final between Gary Anderson and Mensur Suljovic on Sunday, July 29 at 7pm on Sky Sports Action and from 7.15pm on Sky Sports Main Event.
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We will have news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis from The World Matchplay in Blackpool. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsDarts to join in the conversation.
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