Gary Anderson plays Mensur Suljovic in the World Matchplay on Sunday night so here's the full order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a fancied double.
After eight days, 30 games and no end of drama, including a perfect leg, we've reached the climax at the Winter Gardens, where a first-time winner will lift the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy.
Both Gary Anderson, who hit that special nine-darter against Joe Cullen (click here to watch), and Mensur Suljovic are playing in their first Blackpool final but the Flying Scotsman is the favourite to triumph.
Here, we have everything you need to know for the showdown including statistics, head-to-head records and routes to the final while our darts expert Chris Hammer is hoping to round off the event with more winning bets having landed four of his six tips on Saturday, including a 3/1 double and a 7/2 special for Anderson v de Zwaan.
Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets
- When: Sunday July 29, 7pm
- TV Coverage: Sky Sports (7pm BST)
- World Matchplay Final: Best of 35 legs
2018 WORLD MATCHPLAY STATS (Anderson first)
- Legs Won/Lost: 57/45 - 54/37
- 3-dart Average: 100.78 - 94.27
- 180s: 38 - 21
- 100+ checkouts: 6 - 7
- Highest checkout: 152 - 151
- Checkout %: 36.54% (57/156) - 41.86% (54/129)
ROUTES TO THE FINAL
- First round: 10-7 v Stephen Bunting
(Ave: 96.66, 180s: 5, Doubles: 10/31)
- Second round: 11-9 v Raymond van Barneveld
(Ave: 104.17, 180s: 5, Doubles: 11/23)
- Quarter-finals: 19-17 v Joe Cullen
(Ave: 97.13, 180s: 12, Doubles: 19/57)
- Semi-finals: 17-12 v Jeffrey de Zwaan
(Ave: 106.06, 180s: 16, Doubles: 17/45)
HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD (Click on scorelines for report & stats)
- Overall: 4-4
- 2018 Meeting
Anderson 7-5 Suljovic - Premier League
- Other meetings
Anderson 16-12 Suljovic - Grand Slam of Darts QF, Nov '17
Anderson 9-11 Suljovic - Champions League Final, Sep '17
Anderson 3-10 Suljovic - Champions League Groups, Sep '17
Anderson 4-6 Suljovic - Players Championship, April '17
Anderson 6-5 Suljovic - Players Championship, March '17
Anderson 6-5 Suljovic - Players Championship, August '16
Anderson 9-13 Suljovic - World Matchplay, July '15
Betting preview, suggested tips & scoreline prediction
- Anderson to win, hit over 8.5 180s and a checkout of over 118.5 at 11/10
- Anderson to score over 12.5 180s at 3/1
- Under 28.5 total legs in the match at 2/1
- Over 18.5 180s in the match, under 29.5 legs and 4 or more 100+ checkouts in the match at 8/1
Gary Anderson's march to his first ever World Matchplay final has been pretty spectacular to say the least and it's no surprise to see him such a hot favourite to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy.
Should he do so, he'll become only the third player in history to complete the Triple Crown of darts, which also consists of the World Championship and Premier League.
You don't need me to tell you the other two players who achieved it.
While it's surprising Anderson has never got this far in nine previous visits to the Winter Gardens, this isn't the first time this year he's seemed especially hungry to pick up a big trophy that's eluded him.
Back in March he headed to a freezing Minehead with a similarly ropey record in the UK Open but stormed his way through the field to add another prestigious title to his glittering CV.
At 47, the Flying Scotsman is always keen to stress he's more than happy with what he's already achieved and won't get downbeat about defeats anymore - but that doesn't mean he's not fired up to win these top prizes when he's still at the very top of his game.
Anderson was in the toughest half of the draw but with Michael van Gerwen taken care of by 750/1 outsider Jeffrey de Zwaan on opening night, his hopes were given a huge boost without even throwing a dart.
Nevertheless he had to come through a hard-fought clash against an improving Stephen Bunting and then needed to some of his very best darts to edge past Barney in a Winter Gardens classic with an average of 104.
Surprise quarter-finalist Joe Cullen then gave him one of the toughest battles of his career on the TV stage despite his early nine-dart finish and even had to survive two match darts before finally seeing off the Rockstar 19-17.
It was a pleasure to be there that night and afterwards he gave us insight into the potential dangers of landing a perfect leg so early in a match.
Anderson enjoyed a day of rest - probably fishing - before returning to the oche all guns blazing to produce one of his finest performances in Blackpool against the giant-killing De Zwaan.
Despite getting off to an awful start with his finishing in the first five legs by missing 12 darts at doubles, he recovered emphatically to end with an average of 106.06 while he also unleashed a barrage of 16 180s and three 100+ checkouts, including a stunner from 152, to thrill the Winter Gardens crowd.
Anderson had missed 16 doubles by the 15th leg which allowed de Zwaan to stay in touch at 8-7 down while he spurned 27 of them in total, ending with a very mediocre checkout percentage of 37.78%.
His finishing has been his only slight Achilles heel this week and Mensur Suljovic needs to exploit that if he's going to become Anderson's bogey player again.
The Austrian's route to his first final here was far more workmanlike, especially during that turgidly slow semi-final with Peter Wright, while his best display came against Darren Webster in Friday's quarter-final when he averaged 98 and hit 57% of his doubles.
A repeat of that probably still won't be enough to defeat Anderson's semi-final form - even if his checkout percentage is in the mid to high 30s - but should he slow the Scotsman's rhythm down then the gulf in scoring may not be as gaping.
That happened three years ago on this very stage in round two and then twice at last year's Champions League of Darts, including the final as Suljovic memorably won his first major TV title, but since then Anderson has shown stronger battling qualities to cope with the Gentle.
He came through a war of attrition at the Grand Slam of Darts to win 16-12 with an average of 101, while he also edged their Premier League showdown 7-5 despite averaging less than his opponent with 97.
In this interview below, he accepts a style of a player like de Zwaan suits him a lot more but is still ready to battle if he needs to.
Another key advantage of Anderson is that he was able to have a rest day between his quarter-final and semi-final, which clearly helped him stay so fresh, while the speed of his match won't have taken as much out of him as Suljovic's past two days have.
So, all this considered, I do think the two-time world champion will get the job done and we should remember that Suljovic's wins at the Champions League were first to 11 legs rather than this comparative best-of-35 legs marathon. Had that final been longer, Anderson would probably have gone on to reel him in.
With Anderson's odds so short, I'm liking the Player Performance bet of him to win, hit over 8.5 180s and manage a checkout of over 118.5 at 11/10.
If he does win then surely those targets are more than achievable, especially if we get plenty of legs played. Although I wouldn't expect him to get as many as 16 180s again given his opponent's style, the 3/1 available on over 12.5 also catches my eye.
My third pick of under 28.5 total legs is slightly contradictory in the sense my other picks would ideally require more, but there's clearly a case for Anderson to triumph fairly comfortably.
I'm going to sign off with an 8/1 RequestABet which rolls all my thinking up. We'll go for over 18.5 180s in the match (Suljovic hit nine against Webster so can contribute here), under 29.5 legs (a bit more leeway to under 28.5 legs) and 4 or more 100+ checkouts in the match, which is more than doable.
Prediction: Anderson 18-10 Suljovic
GARY ANDERSON FACTS
- Nickname: The Flying Scotsman
- Date of Birth: 22/12/1970
- Nationality: Scottish
- World Ranking: 4
- Walk-on music: Jump Around, House of Pain
- Career highlights: 2x World Champion (2015, 2016), 2x Premier League champion (2011, 2015), UK Open champion (2018), Players Championship Finals champion (2014), over 30 other PDC titles, runner-up in 10 other major finals including the World Championship, UK Open, World Grand Prix & Champions League of Darts
MENSUR SULJOVIC FACTS
- Nickname: The Gentle
- Date of Birth: 05/03/1972
- Nationality: Austrian
- World Ranking: 6
- Walk-on music: Simply The Best, Tina Turner
- Career highlights: Champions League of Darts champion (2017), winner of five non-televised PDC titles