Michael van Gerwen kept alive his hopes of winning a fourth consecutive Dubai Darts Masters title as he prevailed 10-7 in a thrilling clash against Peter Wright at the Tennis Park Stadium on Thursday evening.
Van Gerwen landed an incredible ten maximums and averaged 107.49 to come through against an excellent Wright, who averaged 106.83 himself. The Scot led 7-6 at one stage, but ‘The Green Machine’ enjoyed a purple-patch in the latter stages of the contest, reeling off four consecutive legs to secure victory.
MvG drew level at 7-7 by pinning D20 having registered his ninth maximum. The turning-point in the match then came in the following leg, as the world number one produced a majestic 10-darter to break throw and secure the lead. Van Gerwen then fired in an 11-darter to move within a leg of victory, before sealing his progression with a fine 112 finish.
Van Gerwen will be joined in the last four by world champion Gary Anderson, who came through a hard-fought battle with five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Anderson opted to use heavier darts to combat the breezy conditions and it paid dividends, with ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaging 98. 36 to secure a 10-8 triumph.
Anderson claimed the opening two legs, but Van Barneveld responded strongly, reeling off three straight legs to forge 3-2 ahead. However, the world champion delivered an impressive riposte, winning five legs in succession to establish a commanding 7-3 cushion.
The Scot led 9-6 and appeared poised to close out victory, but Barney showed tremendous resilience, hitting his fifth maximum and taking out 84 on the bullseye to remain in contention at 9-7. The Dutchman then capitalised on four missed match darts from Ando to reduce the arrears to 9-8.
However, Gary made no mistake in the eighteenth leg, firing in a classy 12-darter on his throw, to close out a fine victory. It was a high-quality contest, particularly in the scoring department. Anderson registered 24 scores of 140 or better, whilst Van Barneveld hit 18 scores of 140 or more, coupled with five maximums.
Anderson will face 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in Friday’s semi-final, after ‘The Power’ secured a thumping 10-2 victory over James Wade. Neither player were at their best; Taylor averaging 93.11 to Wade’s 87.07.
Nevertheless, the pair’s contrasting fortunes in the finishing department proved the decisive factor. Taylor hit 45% of his doubles, whilst Wade converted just 2 of his 13 attempts, which equates to a miserly ratio of 15%.
Taylor led 3-0 at one stage, but Wade won two of the next three legs to reduce the deficit to 4-2, and a comeback appeared a realistic possibility. However, The Stoke-on-Trent ace upped the ante, taking out a maximum 170 checkout followed by a clinical 110 finish, to win the remaining six legs and ease through.
Nevertheless, Taylor’s Stoke compatriot Adrian Lewis suffered a very different fate, as he was dismantled 10-1 by an impressive Dave Chisnall in Thursday’s opening quarter-final. The breezy conditions had a big influence on this contest, as Lewis averaged just 78.
Chisnall also struggled in the opening stages; despite leading 4-1, the St Helen’s star was averaging just 82. Despite this, ‘The Yellow Peril’ grew in confidence as the match progressed, registering finishes of 130, 110, 101, 85, 76 and 72, to set up a semi-final clash against defending champion Michael van Gerwen.
2016 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
Thursday May 26
Adrian Lewis (4) 1-10 Dave Chisnall
Phil Taylor (3) 10-2 James Wade
Gary Anderson (2) 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen (1) 10-7 Peter Wright
Best of 19 legs
Friday May 27 (8pm local time)
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
van Gerwen/Chisnall v Anderson/Taylor
Best of 21 legs