A review of Thursday's action at the Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool, where Glen Durrant thrashed James Wade to reach the semi-finals on his Winter Gardens debut.
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Duzza destroys the Machine
Glen Durrant's dream World Matchplay debut continued as he booked his place in the semi-finals with a one-sided 16-7 thumping of James Wade.
The three-time Lakeside king, who so memorably defeated Michael van Gerwen in an all-time Winter Gardens epic on Tuesday night, wasn't operating at quite the same level as he did against the world number one but he still managed to out score and finish a below-par Machine for most of the clash.
The 48-year-old trailed 4-3 early on but went on a rampant run of taking 13 legs out of the next 16 to set up a last-four showdown with Michael Smith.
And he finished it off in some style too, with a showboating 137 checkout consisting of treble 19, and two double tops.
Duzza's Blackpool adventure is the latest chapter of a remarkable 2019 which started with him emulating Eric Bristow's record of three successive BDO World Championship titles before earning his PDC Tour Card and going on to win a pair of Players Championship titles - the latter including a victory over MVG in their first ever meeting.
This incredible form in the floor events helped him surge up the rankings enough to earn a spot at the second biggest tournament in darts and although doubters were still questioning whether he'd be able to mix it with the very best on the stages of the PDC's televised majors, he's emphatically silenced them now.
"At the start of the tournament I just wanted to prove to the PDC crowd that I could handle playing on this stage, and now I'm daring to dream of the title," said Durrant.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic, I'm living the dream right now. I think the crowd are taking to me because they see an ordinary man who is having a whale of a time.
"I'm having a wonderful week, that's the best way I can describe it. It's such a special moment for me, it's life-changing."
Durrant averaged 92.84 compared to Wade's poor 85.68 while he hit one more maximum with four and hit 16 of his 40 attempts at doubles as his opponent missed seven of just 20.
There were five 100+ checkouts in the match, with Durrant's other two being from 107 and 100 while Wade managed a brace in the opening seven legs to edge into a 4-3 lead.
The Teesider is now second favourite to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy at the first attempt having started the week at 33/1 while his World Championship odds are also tumbling.
Durrant's victory also sees him 'win' the top quarter of the draw, which he was tipped up to do at 11/1 on these pages, and now he'll face our 25/1 each-way fancy Smith in the last four.
Wade had survived a host of match darts across his first two matches just to get here but there was certainly no reprieve this time for the 2018 European and World Series of Darts Finals champion, who arrived in Blackpool with confidence having won four PDC titles this season.
The 2007 World Matchplay champion was also the last remaining former winner of this event so his exit means there will definitely be a new name on the trophy.
Bully Boy breaks new ground
Michael Smith reached the World Matchplay semi-finals for the first time in his career as he claimed a gruelling 16-11 victory over Mervyn King at the Winter Gardens.
Bully Boy, tipped up at 25/1 each-way on these pages, is bidding to land the first major televised title of a career that has promised so much and now might deliver one of the biggest prizes of them all.
Smith got off to a flying start with a 137 checkout in the very first leg as he raced into a 4-1 lead with an average of over 110 and only missing one dart at a double.
King, who got off the mark with a 140 finish, had rolled back the years in his superb victories over UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall (round one) and then defending champion Gary Anderson (round two) so it was little surprise to see him fight back in the second mini session and from 5-1 down he managed to cut the deficit to 5-4 before Smith edged a crucial 10th leg.
The St Helens man's average was dropping well below 100 and despite moving 7-4 up, back came the Norfolk veteran with four legs on the spin in 16 darts or fewer thanks to largely to clinical checkouts of 92, 74 and 86.
Smith exploded back into life after the next interval with an 11-darter and followed that up with a 92 checkout for another in 12 as he put a run of three legs together for a 10-8 lead.
A comically dreadful leg followed as both players combined to miss 22 darts at doubles before King, who was responsible for 13 of them, finally bought the crowd to their feet when finally getting out of the madhouse.
That would prove to be the last leg King won as Smith reeled off the next four including an 11-darter and a superb 114 checkout to finish.
Smith averaged 96.41 compared to King's 88.28 and hit four more maximums with six while he pinned 15 of his 42 attempts at doubles, with his opponent spurning 28 of his.
"It feels good to be in the semis but I want to get to the final and have the chance to lift the trophy now," said Smith.
"In the first session I felt on top of the world and in the next two sessions I felt like I was at the bottom of the world. I had to concentrate and I did some important throws on my throw and a couple of 180s on his to get the breaks.
"Mervyn's a quality player and has been a good friend. He's always helped me along when I needed advice and I'm thankful for someone like Mervyn - one of had to win and I'm just glad it's me."
Thursday results & Friday schedule
Thursday July 25 (1900 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Michael Smith 16-11 Mervyn King
- Glen Durrant 16-7 James Wade
Friday July 26 (1900 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Rob Cross v Stephen Bunting
- Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney