2017 World Matchplay: Day Five Report!

Phil Taylor Matchplay.jpg

Phil Taylor punished missed doubles from his old adversary Raymond van Barneveld to set up a quarter-final showdown with defending champion Michael van Gerwen, as Adrian Lewis and Alan Norris also triumphed on a dramatic night of action at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Wednesday evening.

Taylor’s final Blackpool campaign continued with an emphatic victory over his great rival Raymond van Barneveld, in the pair’s 80th and potentially final meeting. Taylor was at his clinical best; averaging 102.27 and converting 50% of his attempts at double, as he reeled off the remaining seven legs without reply to record an 11-3 victory.

Van Barneveld averaged 98.72 and posted four maximums himself, but his profligacy in the finishing department cost him. The Dutchman matched ‘The Power’ in the scoring department for large periods, but RvB’s checkout conversion rate of just 21% proved to be his undoing.

Taylor started strongly; establishing an early 3-0 cushion, despite the fact that Van Barneveld had darts at double in all of those legs. However, the five-time world champion pegged D7, before dispatching a 76 kill to reduce the arrears to 3-2 at the first interval.

The 56-year-old regained his two-leg lead via D2 in a scrappy sixth leg, before Van Barneveld found D10 to move to within a leg of the 16-time world champion. However, the eighth leg ultimately proved decisive. Van Barneveld posted his second maximum but missed one dart at tops for a 79 finish to level the contest, and Taylor duly pounced.

Taylor eventually found D1 to retain his two-leg advantage, before winning the next two legs to head into the second interval with a commanding 7-3 lead. Van Barneveld scored well after the break, but the clinical Stoke ace continued to finish superbly; dispatching an effortless 96 outshot to wrap up proceedings in convincing fashion.

‘The Power’ will now take on world number one Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals on Friday night, after MvG also triumphed by an 11-3 scoreline; easing past a below-bar Simon Whitlock. ‘The Green Machine’ wasn’t at his vintage best, but still remains on course to win his third successive World Matchplay crown.

Van Gerwen won a scrappy opening session 4-1 after ‘The Wizard’ missed a multitude of darts at double, and the Dutchman romped into an 8-1 advantage after putting together a sequence of six consecutive legs.

Whitlock secured a consolation leg with a 13-darter via D14 in the tenth leg, but Van Gerwen continued his procession; following up a ruthless 78 checkout by pegging D10, after the Aussie squandered a further four darts at double.

Whitlock registered his third leg of the match with another 13-darter, but this simply delayed the inevitable, as Van Gerwen found D10 to round-off another emphatic triumph. It wasn’t a magical display, but MvG still averaged 99.90, posted five maximums and boasted an excellent 50% checkout success rate.

Adrian Lewis defied his injury problems to storm into the last eight, after defeating Rob Cross 11-8 in an extremely high-quality affair. Cross averaged 104.08, landed seven maximums and converted 57% of his attempts at double, but it still wasn’t enough to beat a brilliant ‘Jackpot’, who produced his best display of the season to triumph.

Lewis averaged 100.93, piled in nine maximums and boasted an impressive 45% checkout conversion rate to record an 11-8 victory, to reach the World Matchplay quarter-finals for the eighth time in his career.

There was never more than three legs between the pair until Lewis closed out victory, but Lewis upped the ante in the latter stages to prevail. With the scores locked at seven apiece, Lewis landed a tremendous 121 finish, before Cross levelled on D16 after Lewis suffered a bounce-out on D12 for his second 144 checkout of the match.

The two-time world champion regained his slender lead on D10 in the following leg, before moving to the cusp of victory after following up visits of 180 and 159 with a clinical 13-darter. Cross continued to battle valiantly, but the Stoke-on-Trent star pegged tops to book his passage to the quarter-finals with a 15-dart hold.

In the opening game of the evening, Alan Norris held his nerve to defeat Dave Chisnall 14-12 in a thrilling contest. ‘Chizzy’ averaged 96.90 and piled in 11 maximums, but his inconsistent finishing proved expensive, as ‘Chuck’ averaged 98.61, posted nine maximums and converted 43% of his attempts at double to prevail in a tie-break.

The St Helen’s star made a blistering start to the tussle; registering seven perfect darts in the opener and hitting four maximums in two legs to establish an early 2-0 cushion. Norris responded by reeling off three consecutive legs to lead, but Chisnall regained the initiative in this topsy-turvy affair by winning four of the next five legs.

‘Chizzy’ was scoring magnificently but his doubling cost him dearly. Norris recovered from 7-4 down to win five successive legs; dispatching a nerveless 110 (Bull, S20, D20) finish to move to the cusp of victory at 9-7. However, Chisnall then won three of the next four legs to keep his hopes alive and force a tie-break at 10-10.

The world number five drew first blood in the tie-break with a sensational 121 outshot, but Norris responded superbly and followed up his seventh maximum by pinning tops to level proceedings once more. Chisnall then rounded-off a pivotal 14-dart hold via D8 to edge back ahead, before a dramatic finale ensued.

Norris converted D5 to prolong the drama, after Chisnall failed to take out 117. ‘Chuck’ then conjured up a majestic 109 finish for a crucial break of throw, before clinching a spot in the quarter-finals with his fourth ton-plus checkout- taking out 100 to complete a clinical 12-darter.

BetVictor World Matchplay
Wednesday July 26 (7pm)
4x Second Round
Dave Chisnall 12-14 Alan Norris
Adrian Lewis 11-8 Rob Cross
Phil Taylor 11-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Simon Whitlock

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