A review of Friday's action at the Betfred World Matchplay, as Glen Durrant defeated an angry Vincent van der Voort to set up a semi-final with Dimitri van den Bergh.
Duzza denies fuming van der Voort
Glen Durrant reached the World Matchplay semi-finals for the second year in a row after an inspired comeback helped him beat Vincent van der Voort 18-16 in a mentally-draining affair at the Marshall Arena.
But the post-match talk was dominated by the Dutchman's angry finger-pointing towards referee Kirk Bevins at the end of the match, which related to a crucial flashpoint in the 22nd leg when he led 12-9.
Having gone inside of double nine with his second dart, van der Voort flung an underarm throw out of frustration into single one, but that score was disallowed by Bevins.
This meant when he returned to the board he required nine instead of eight, thus costing himself a dart at a double that eventually proved costly, with Durrant later pinning double one to complete a shambolic 23-darter.
The 44-year-old later apologised on social media for his outburst towards Bevins and claimed he wrongfully thought he had been penalised for stepping over the oche for the offending third dart rather than an underarm throw.
Nevertheless, having earlier led 10-5, this was a real body blow at the time for the Dutch Destroyer, who has been rolling back the years this week to reach his first World Matchplay quarter-final since 2009.
Although he soon bounced back to win a pair of much higher quality legs out of the next four to creep closer to the finish line at 14-12, three more spurned darts at doubles in the next two allowed Durrant to level before a 92 checkout on the bullseye edged him ahead for the first time in the match.
The 2007 UK Open runner-up, who also reached the European Championship quarters last year, restored parity with a 13-darter and had to respond to Duzza's 85 finish in the next to force a tie-breaker situation.
Durrant then turned on the style when he needed it most with a match high checkout of 115 - when VDV was waiting on 36 to break - and a match-winning one from 75 to set up a clash with Dimitri van den Bergh on Saturday night.
Van der Voort, however, was quick to make his feelings known to Bevins.
The controversial leg had followed immediately after another woeful display on the outer ring from both players, with the three-time BDO world champion again finishing in the madhouse of double one for a 23-darter.
Across that particularly tense spell of action, Durrant missed 17 darts at doubles and van der Voort 13 but it was the Teessider who ultimately had the bottle to end the mayhem in both of them at a crunch time of a match he'd previously looked set to lose.
Indeed, it underpins the incredible mental strength the 49-year-old has shown since switching to the PDC at the start of 2019.
The Premier League table-topper won two titles in his debut season while he also reached three major semi-finals, including when beating the then world champion MVG at the World Matchplay. Twelve months later he's beat the current Ally Pally king in Peter Wright and is now on the cusp of another career-defining milestone.
Durrant is marginal favourite to beat debutant van den Bergh, who impressed against Adrian Lewis, although the overall stats suggest he'll have to make a big improvement.
That said, apart from those two farcical legs against van der Voort, the standard was much better than will be remembered.
Over 34 legs of darts, both players missed a combined 68 darts at doubles (Durrant 33, VDV 35) but 30 of those came in Duzza's 23-darters, in which he alone was guilty for 17 of them.
Despite that, he still managed an average of 95.21 compared to his opponent's 93.79 while he ended up with a fairly respectable checkout percentage - in the circumstances - of 35.29%.
Van der Voort, who hit one more maximum with eight and managed a best checkout of 98 for an 11-darter that put him 10-5 ahead, missed 35 attempts at the outer ring in total, meaning his percentage was 31.37%.
"I've no idea how I won that game," admitted Durrant. "Vincent will be devastated because the better player lost but sometimes you need a bit of luck to get you through. I don't think I ever settled but sometimes you have to rely on experience. I was beaten but I've got through and to reach back-to-back semi-finals in this event is tremendous.
"I want to go to the next level now. It's a massive opportunity - the top four seeds have fallen and I've dodged a bullet tonight."
Dimitri's dream debut could land big jackpot
Dimitri van den Bergh reached his first ever major semi-final as his dream debut at the World Matchplay continued against Adrian Lewis.
The two-time world youth champion produced a superb front-running performance by storming into 5-1 and 10-4 leads and although Lewis staged a valiant comeback, he was able to close out a 16-12 victory.
Van den Bergh came to Milton Keynes as a huge 200/1 outsider but after beating Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen and now Jackpot, the Belgian star is just two more wins away from lifting the Phil Taylor Trophy and landing his bold backers a huge payout.
The 26-year-old was averaging over 100 for much of the contest before it dropped slightly to 99.94 during the closing stages while he plundered 11 maximums and hit a pair of 100+ checkouts including a show-stopping 164 finish in just the third leg.
That came immediately after the former two-time world champion had landed a 101 finish to level the scores at 1-1 while he would later take out 161 for a 12-darter in the eighth leg - moments after van den Bergh missed the bull for a 170 - to cut a worrying gap down to 6-2.
It was not the first flash of brilliance that Lewis has shown during his encouraging week, having returned to the Marshall Arena on the back of an awful Summer Series that left him questioning if his 16th successive World Matchplay could be his last.
For the third match running, the 35-year-old averaged in the high 90s with a 96.26 and threw eight 180s but ultimately his finishing wasn't up to scratch as he spurned 22 of his 34 attempts at the outer ring as his opponent pinned 15 of his 37.
Lewis also showed admirable fighting spirit throughout and displayed positive pumped up body language as he battled his way back to 12-8 and 14-11 down.
However a painful missed dart at tops was punished by the Dream Maker and two legs later he was into the semis.
Van den Bergh was appearing in his fifth individual major quarter-final since the start of 2018 - and sixth on TV overall if you include World Series events - while this was also his third in a row follow on from his runs at the World Championship and UK Open. So in hindsight, perhaps more people should have seen this coming.
In addition to this, van den Bergh spent three months of lockdown at Peter Wright's house, and although it didn't seem to make an instant impact to his form during the PDC Home Tour or the Summer Series, the invaluable experiences may now be coming to fruition when it really matters.
"I'm in the semi-finals and I want to win that now and see how far I can get," he told www.pdc.tv. "It would be a dream come true but I'll take it round by round and I'll be practising, fighting and believing in my own ability.
"It feels amazing. I'm so happy about my game and I know that I've learned from each game. I keep learning and I keep digging in and I'm chasing my dreams.
"Adrian has been in the final but I showed that I can play long games. It's the first time I've played a game of the first to 16. Match-play is all about legs, not sets, and I took the chances I got on my doubles."
Van den Bergh will play Glen Durrant as he bids to become the first debutant since James Wade in 2006 to reach the final.
World Matchplay: Quarter-final results & semi-final schedule
Thursday July 23 (2000 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Krzysztof Ratajski 13-16 Michael Smith
- Simon Whitlock 12-16 Gary Anderson
Friday July 24 (2000 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Adrian Lewis 12-16 Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Glen Durrant 18-16 Vincent van der Voort
Saturday July 25 (2000 BST)
Semi-Finals (best of 33 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Gary Anderson v Michael Smith
- Dimitri van den Bergh v Glen Durrant
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