Michael van Gerwen began the defence of his Shanghai Darts Masters title with a sensational whitewash victory over Hai Long Chen, as all eight seeded PDC stars progressed through to finals day in Shanghai.
Yet, the stand-out performance of the opening day was delivered by defending champion Van Gerwen- who averaged 112.73 to demolish Hai Long Chen 6-0, who averaged 48 points less than ‘The Green Machine’. MvG also dispatched a sublime 170 outshot in the fifth leg, en route to setting up a last eight clash against Phil Taylor.
The Dutchman reflected: “I played phenomenally tonight and I will have to do it again against Phil tomorrow. I always have great matches against Phil but my performance today will send a message to the rest but also give me a lot of confidence.”
Taylor sealed his spot in the quarter-finals with a routine 6-1 victory against South Korean qualifier Hyun Chul Park. The 16-time world champion averaged 104.21, landed two maximums and converted 55% of his attempts at double to triumph 6-1; having reeled off the final four legs in succession.
Taylor told the PDC’s media-channel: “I don’t get nervous as much anymore but when he won the bullseye I was a bit worried. I didn’t know much about my opponent beforehand but he really impressed me and hopefully we see him again.”
Top seed Gary Anderson stormed into Friday’s quarter-finals with an impressive whitewash victory over Wei Hong Li. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ piled in three maximums, averaged 108.65 and pinned 67% of his attempts at double to prevail 6-0, as Li was afforded just the solitary dart at double in the entire contest.
Anderson, who defeated Michael van Gerwen to retain his Dubai Darts Masters crown back in May, admitted: “You can see the commitment to the game over here and in a few years we might be in trouble. I just play darts, I’m not worried about what the others do. I’ll do my best and see what happens.”
The world number two will take on a new-look Raymond van Barneveld in the last eight, after the five-time world champion also kicked off his campaign with a whitewash victory; easing past former World Championship qualifier Chen An Liu 6-0.
Van Barneveld, playing with his new set of Target darts, wasn’t at his vintage best but was in cruise control throughout; posting the solitary maximum and boasting a checkout success rate of 38%. However, the legendary Dutchman is confident of producing an improved showing against Anderson tomorrow.
“Gary is one of the best players in the world so I’ll need to get in a bit more practice with the new darts before tomorrow. 6-0 is a great result, I can’t do any better than that so it’s a good start to the tournament for me,” Barney claimed.
Dave Chisnall booked his spot in the last eight with a convincing 6-1 victory over the legendary Paul Lim- who rolled back the years to lead Singapore to the World Cup of Darts quarter-finals last month. Chisnall averaged 97.43, hit four maximums and converted 50% of his double attempts, but the crucial moment came in leg four.
Lim had the opportunity to level up the tie at 2-2, but missed a big number which denied him a dart at double. ‘Chizzy’ punished this error with a magnificent 144 checkout, before recording finishes of 81, 96 and 64 to cap off an impressive win.
The St Helen’s star, who is still searching for his maiden World Series crown, admitted: “Fortunately he didn’t play as well as he did at the World Cup but I still had to play well to win. I’ve just got to keep my concentration and hopefully I will be able to win one of these this time.”
Chisnall will face Welsh star Gerwyn Price for a place in the last four on Friday afternoon, after the UK Open finalist eased past Hong Kong ace Royden Lam in the tournament’s curtain-raiser. ‘The Iceman’ averaged 94.07, piled in five 180’s and took out a spectacular 156 outshot to round-off a strong start to his Shanghai debut.
“I’ll have to play a bit better if I want to win the tournament but it’s a good enough start. It’s eight of the best players in the world playing here but I believe I’m good enough to win,” Price claimed.
Peter Wright continued his stunning form to whitewash former World Cup quarter-finalist Haruki Muramatsu. The Japanese ace wasn’t even afforded a dart at double, as the UK Open champion averaged 106.09, posted three maximums and boasted a clinical 67% checkout conversion rate, having kicked off the tie with successive 12-darters.
Wright will now take on last year’s finalist James Wade in the fourth quarter-final, after ‘The Machine’ eased past former World Youth Championship qualifier Xiao Chen Zong 6-0. It was a very scrappy affair, with Wade averaging 81.24 and hitting 40% of his double attempts, but he was full of praise for his young opponent.
“It’s great to see the young man playing. I watched him in the qualifiers yesterday and I’m lucky he didn’t play that well today,” said Wade. “I’m sure as he gets more experience we will being seeing a lot more go the young man,” he added.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2017 Shanghai Darts Masters
Thursday July 6
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Royden Lam
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Cheng An Liu
James Wade 6-0 Xiao Chen Zong
Phil Taylor 6-1 Hyun Chul Park
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Paul Lim
Peter Wright 6-0 Haruki Muramatsu
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Hai Long Chen
Gary Anderson 6-0 Wei Hong Li
All games are the best of 11 legs
Friday July 7 (6.30pm local time)
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Peter Wright v James Wade
Anderson/Van Barneveld v Price/Chisnall
Van Gerwen/Taylor v Wright/Wade
All games are the best of 15 legs