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Glen Durrant and James Wade set for World Matchplay quarter-final showdown

Image: Glen Durrant is hoping to add Wade to his growing list of scalps in Blackpool

Glen Durrant continues his bid for a debut World Matchplay title against 2007 champion James Wade as the quarter-finals get underway at the Winter Gardens.

Durrant has already accounted for two world champions and the three-time Lakeside champion takes on nine-time major winner Wade for a place in the last four in Blackpool.

Thursday's other quarter-final clash sees Mervyn King take on World Championship finalist Michael Smith.

King is aiming to reach a second Matchplay semi-final - a decade on from his first, while Smith is appearing in the last eight for the first time in his career.

Here's an in-depth look ahead to tonight's two quarter-final tussles....

Michael Smith vs Mervyn King

michael Smith
Image: Michael Smith is appearing in his first World Matchplay quarter-final

Smith is enjoying his best run at the World Matchplay, although the fifth seed has been forced to do it the hard way.

'Bully Boy' has faced three-leg deficits in each of his games against Jamie Hughes and Max Hopp, but the St Helen's star has fought back superbly on both occasions, which is testament to his growing maturity as a player over recent years.

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Smith has appeared in three big televised finals since May 2018 but has been unable to land that elusive first major, although with Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson both out of the tournament, the 28-year-old will sense a real opportunity.

King has rolled back the years in Blackpool this week, following up a fine victory over UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall by dumping out defending champion Anderson to reach his first televised quarter-final for three years.

The 53-year-old has been somewhat of a giant-killer in televised events in 2019, having also defeated Van Gerwen in the UK Open back in March.

Image: Mervyn King has already claimed televised wins over Van Gerwen, Anderson and Aspinall in 2019

King is remarkably checking out at 56 per cent across the tournament and this has all the makings of being a closely-fought contest, with King edging the pair's head-to-head record 7-6.

What they had to say....

Smith: "I need to stop going 4-1 down I think. I struggled with my finishing, a couple of times it was good but most of the time it was dreadful.

"I've been in these positions before when I've played Phil (Taylor) in the Worlds and I'm quite happy with those last two legs."

King: "I have probably been the best 180 hitter for a number of years and then you look at Michael Smith and he makes me look silly with his 180 hitting.

"That boy is unreal, so I need to up my scoring. It's the same as Gary (Anderson), he does miss a few doubles so the chances that I get and I will get chances, I've got to take, if I don't then I'll be going home."

Glen Durrant vs James Wade

Glen Durrant knocked Michael van Gerwen out of the World Matchplay on a spellbinding night of darts in Blackpool
Image: Durrant knocked Michael van Gerwen out of the World Matchplay on a spellbinding night of darts on Tuesday

Durrant beat two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in his opener, before sealing the biggest win of his PDC career to send world No 1 Van Gerwen crashing out in an epic evening of action on Tuesday.

He takes on six-time Matchplay finalist Wade, who is the only former champion left in this year's tournament following the departures of Anderson and MVG.

'Duzza' has performed superbly on his Blackpool bow and he is bidding to become the first man to win the World Matchplay on debut since Larry Butler in the inaugural staging back in 1994.

However, he faces the ultimate match-player in Wade, who has underlined his credentials with two dramatic tie-break victories over Jeffrey de Zwaan and Mensur Suljovic to reach an 11th quarter-final at the Winter Gardens.

Wade survived five match darts to edge out last year's semi-finalist De Zwaan, before recovering from 8-5 and 11-10 down to defeat Suljovic - a runner-up here 12 months ago.

Image: James Wade has come through two gruelling tussles to reach the quarter-finals

'The Machine' is the only PDC major winner left in the top half of the draw and having already scooped four ranking titles in 2019, he will be hoping to claim his second Matchplay title, 12 years on from his maiden triumph.

What they had to say...

Durrant: "This night will live with me forever, I've never experienced a crowd getting behind me like that. At times I forgot I was playing Michael van Gerwen, and when I realised I was in with a chance of winning the emotions were incredible.

"I now need to go away, relax and contemplate what I've done and look ahead to the rest of the tournament, but whatever happens from now on in my career this moment will never be taken away from me."

Wade: "It was an indifferent game against Mensur. I got away with a lot of things and I'm looking forward to the next one.

"It's a wonderful tournament to be involved in. To be fair I should have probably gone out in both of my last two games and hopefully in my next game I can play better darts.

Follow every dart from every session in Blackpool as the World Matchplay continues through to the final on Sunday, July 28.

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