Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson produced impressive performances to ease through to the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay, whilst Steve Beaton and Mervyn King rolled back the years at the Winter Gardens on Wednesday evening.
Taylor’s quest for an unprecedented 16th Matchplay crown continued with a comprehensive 11-5 victory over Mensur Suljovic. After a shaky opening-round win against Robbie Green, ‘The Power’ was much improved against the Austrian, averaging 101 and converting 48% of his attempts at double.
Taylor raced into a 3-0 advantage, but Suljovic responded impressively and cut the deficit to 3-2 at the next interval. ‘The Power’ then won four of the next five legs, to establish a commanding 7-3 cushion.
Suljovic continued to display great tenacity, converting finishes of 103 and 104 to remain in contention, but the 55-year-old Stoke star was unperturbed, firing in his fourth maximum and taking out 68 to seal victory, and book a place in the last eight on Friday.
Elsewhere, world champion Gary Anderson reached only his second ever World Matchplay quarter-final with an emphatic win over former finalist Terry Jenkins. The Scot has endured a torrid recent record against Jenkins, with ‘The Bull’ prevailing in 12 of their last 13 meetings.
Nevertheless, Anderson was far too good on this occasion. He averaged 100.76, hit 16 140’s, four maximums and boasted an impressive checkout conversion rate of 58%. Jenkins fought valiantly, but he was considerably below-par, averaging a miserly 84.
At one stage Anderson only led 5-4, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ reeled off five successive legs to seize total control of the contest. Jenkins pinned tops to stop the rot, but the world champion clinched victory with a majestic 11-darter.
In the last eight, Anderson will face the veteran Steve Beaton, who rolled back the years to shock eighth seed Michael Smith. Many people expected Smith to secure a showdown with his mentor Anderson, but Beaton performed superbly, averaging 99 and hitting an impressive 65% of his doubles.
Smith also finished magnificently, hitting 7 of his 9 attempts at double (78%), but ‘Bully-Boy’ was completely outscored by the 1996 Lakeside champion. ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ hit four maximums and 16 140’s to seal a brilliant 11-7 victory, to reach his first quarter-final at the Winter Gardens since 2001.
In the night’s opening encounter, Mervyn King overcame Brendan Dolan in an attritional battle, to set up a quarter-final clash against Phil Taylor. King and Dolan, who defeated James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld respectively in the first-round, both struggled to replicate their previous displays, but King prevailed by a 11-8 scoreline.
Both men averaged a shade under 90 in a topsy-turvy contest. King won the opening two legs, but Dolan claimed the lead after reeling off four straight legs. Nevertheless, Dolan spurned a number of chances in the eighth leg, and King won five of the next six to establish a narrow 7-5 advantage.
The pair exchanged breaks of throw, but ultimately King held all the aces. He moved to within a leg of the last eight by hitting D4, after Dolan had missed tops for a 117 checkout. ‘The History-Maker’ spurned further opportunities to keep his hopes alive in the nineteenth leg, and King landed his third maximum and hit D10 to scrape through.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Wednesday July 20
Mervyn King 11-8 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 7-11 Steve Beaton
Phil Taylor 11-5 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 11-5 Terry Jenkins
Best of 21 legs
Thursday July 21 (7pm-11pm)
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
Friday July 22 (7pm-11pm)
Mervyn King v Phil Taylor
Gary Anderson v Steve Beaton