World Matchplay Darts: Saturday's semi-final predictions, odds, betting tips, order of play & TV times

Who will reach the final of the World Matchplay?
Who will reach the final of the World Matchplay?

It's semi-final night at the World Matchplay so here's the full order of play, match-by-match predictions, Sky Bet odds and a fancied double.

After a thrilling week at the Winter Gardens, which peaked with nine-dart hero Gary Anderson's epic quarter-final win over Joe Cullen (click here to watch) on Thursday night, we're now just down to four.

Giant-killer Jeffrey De Zwaan faces tournament favourite Anderson in one of the eagerly-anticipated semi-finals, with Peter Wright taking on Mensur Suljovic in the other.

The winners will meet on Sunday night and whoever goes on to lift this prestigious trophy will do so for the first time.

Below we have the full running order of both games, Chris Hammer's match-by-match previews, statistics & predictions as well as his main suggested bets and a double.

Saturday's darts double

Scroll down for match-by-match previews & tips

World Matchplay: Saturday July 28

Click on the odds for more Sky Bet match markets

  • TV Coverage: Sky Sports (7pm BST)
  • Semi-Finals: Best of 33 legs

Peter Wright (4/9) v Mensur Suljovic (7/4)

  • Head-to-head: 7-7
  • 2018 meetings: 0-3
  • Tournament Average: 98.70 - 96.41
  • Tournament 180s: 7 - 18
  • Checkout %: 56.92% (37/65) - 43.53% (37/85)

Peter Wright headed to Blackpool on the back of a disappointing season so far having failed to reach the Premier League play-offs or win a single tournament on the PDC circuit.

Considering he became the fourth man in history to win 10 events in a calendar year in 2017, this was a stark change in fortunes for the world number two.

Relatively speaking, he was 'flying under the radar' as fourth favourite behind MVG, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross but while the biggest names tumbled or got taken to the brink, Snakebite moved effortlessly into his third Blackpool semi-final in four years.

The 2017 runner-up, who left the Winter Gardens stage in tears after losing to Phil Taylor 12 months ago, may end up crying with joy on Sunday night if he carries the form from his previous three games into the weekend.

He beat Jelle Klaasen 10-5 with the help of a 170 checkout before posting the tournament high average so far of 105 in an 11-5 thrashing of Kim Huybrechts.

Another ton+ average followed against Simon Whitlock but this time it was his lethal doubling which killed off the lacklustre Wizard's hopes, hitting 16 and missing just five while he also won his final 11 legs without missing a checkout. If that wasn't impressive enough for you, he hit three 100+ checkouts including a high of 140.

By contrast Suljovic has been more workmanlike in reaching his first World Matchplay semi-final, overcoming Steve Beaton 10-6, Ian White 11-8 and Darren Webster 16-10.

He started very slowly against the Demolition Man and it looked like it could go the distance when leading just 9-8 but he found another gear to take seven of the next nine legs and finished the match with nine 180s and an impressive checkout percentage of 57.14%.

Regardless of what the 2017 Champions League of Darts winner says to the cameras, he'll believe he can bag a second major TV title having won two other decent events in the past three months.

The Austrian has also been an awkward customer for Wright in recent times.

Their head-to-head record stands at 7-7 but crucially Suljovic has won four of their last five encounters dating back to last September's Champions League, while he's beaten him in all three matches this year.

Not only that - two of those were 7-1 and 8-2 in the Premier League and World Series of Darts respectively while the third was as recent as last month's Danish Darts Open, which Suljovic went on to win.

I'm going to side with the Gentle at evens with a +2.5 leg start but as a side bet I'm going for Wright to hit four or more 100+ checkouts at 4/1.

Snakebite has hit seven so far, including three in just 21 legs against Whitlock, so if this match goes far there'll be plenty of opportunity for him to keep this rate up.

Prediction: Wright 17-15 Suljovic

Suggested tips

  • Mensur Suljovic (+2.5) to beat Peter Wright at evens
  • Wright to hit four or more 100+ checkouts at 4/1
  • Wright v Suljovic - Over 27.5 legs, 14+ 180s & four or more 100+ checkouts at 7/2

Click here to back these selections with Sky Bet

Jeffrey de Zwaan (13/5) v Gary Anderson (2/7)

  • Head-to-head: 0-4
  • 2018 meetings: 0-3
  • Tournament Average: 99.36 - 98.85
  • Tournament 180s: 14 - 22
  • Checkout %: 52.11% (37/71) - 36.04% (37/111)

Hardly anyone would have predicted a Jeffrey de Zwaan v Gary Anderson semi-final before the tournament began but now it's a reality, we're suddenly expecting something special.

In the space of three memorable matches in Blackpool this week, a 22-year-old who started out as a 750/1 outsider for glory has suddenly established himself as one of the fastest rising stars in darts although avid fans of the sport already knew about his blossoming talents.

Since going back to Qualifying School at the start of the year to win back his Tour card, he stunned Michael van Gerwen in the UK Open - albeit behind closed doors due to that big winter freeze - while his encouraging results on the Pro Tour including a maiden title at a Players Championship event - again with no crowds - meant he qualified for this major for the first time despite being ranked 68 in the world.

With precious little experience of handling the atmosphere of a sold-out venue such as the Winter Gardens, MVG clearly had an extra advantage in addition to his awesome ability but de Zwaan wasn't fazed in the slightest, running out a 10-6 winner on opening night.

He then upset the odds again to defeat Adrian Lewis, who is climbing his way back up the rankings this year, and did so in style with a showboating double-double finish.

After that he shouldn't really have been priced up as underdog against Chizzy - as I wrote in my Thursday preview - and it came as little surprise to me when he made a mockery of those odds by winning nine of the next 10 legs to storm into the semi-finals .

He finished the match with an average of 103.33, hit eight 180s and boasted a checkout percentage of 51.72%, which was helped by a superb high checkout of 127.

The Black Cobra also boasts the highest overall tournament average of 99.36 - as well as the second highest checkout percentage of players still remaining of 52.11% - so Anderson is in for a real test on Saturday night.

However, there will be no chance of complacency from the Flying Scotsman, who told us in this interview below that he actually expected de Zwaan to defeat MVG on opening night.

This interview followed his nine-dart finish heroics in a mesmerising 19-17 victory over Joe Cullen that will live long in the memory for everyone present or watching at home.

Incidentally, I sadly missed that perfect leg as it coincided with interview time with de Zwaan - but the rest of the match and the electric atmosphere certainly didn't disappoint.

Anyway, enough of my memoirs from the Winter Gardens, who's going to win?

Well, unlike the clash with Chizzy, I can't dispute Anderson being favourite or indeed the tournament favourite to lift this prestigious trophy for the first time in his glittering career.

In fact if he goes on to do so he'll be just the third person behind Phil Taylor and MVG to win both the World Championship and World Matchplay.

But let's not let the widespread love for Ando cloud our judgement here. He survived match darts against Cullen and afterwards expressed disappointment over his finishing, which saw him miss 38 attempts at doubles.

He didn't play anywhere like his stunning display against Raymond van Barneveld in the previous round in which he averaged 104 and hit 47% of his doubles - so if he gets back to that standard then I think it's fair to say there's only one winner.

Anderson has also won all four of their meetings, including three this year, and although they were over best-of-11 legs, the two-time world champion is clearly more experienced over the longer format.

I'll back him to come through a compelling encounter but if you throw in most 180s - he's hit more than anyone with 22 - then you get the double at evens.

My other tip is for there to be over over 28.5 legs, a high checkout of over 141.5 and over 17.5 total 180s at 7/2.

Prediction: De Zwaan 14-17 Anderson

Suggested tips

  • Anderson to win & hit most 180s at evens
  • De Zwaan v Anderson to have over 28.5 legs, a high checkout of over 141.5 & over 17.5 total 180s at 7/2

Click here to back these selections with Sky Bet

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