A review of day five of the Betfred World Matchplay, as Glen Durrant knocked out tournament favourite Peter Wright to reach the quarter-finals.
Wright sent packing by Duzza
The 'big three' are now all out of the World Matchplay before the quarter-finals as Glen Durrant upset Peter Wright 11-8 in a high-quality clash that blew the tournament even further wide open.
Two days after Gerwyn Price was sent packing by Danny Noppert in the first round and 24 hours after Michael van Gerwen slumped to a shocking 11-4 defeat to Simon Whitlock in the second, the world champion's dreams of adding the second biggest major in darts to his glittering CV were ended by the former three-time BDO king.
The trio were head and shoulders above the rest in the betting before a dart was thrown at the Marshall Arena on Saturday, but now it's Duzza who finds himself as joint favourite with Gary Anderson having initially headed to Milton Keynes as a live 25/1 outsider.
Indeed, to say the whole betting landscape has been shaken up since the defending champion Rob Cross was knocked out on opening is one of the biggest understatements in darts history, and now every remaining player will view this as a golden opportunity to achieve glory, even those who started out with a handful of backers.
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Latest Sky Bet title odds (pre-tournament in brackets)
- Glen Durrant: 11/4 (25/1)
- Gary Anderson: 11/4 (10/1)
- Michael Smith: 5/1 (25/1)
- Krzysztof Ratajski: 5/1 (40/1)
- Dimitri Van den Bergh: 6/1 (200/1)
- Adrian Lewis: 10/1 (80/1)
- Simon Whitlock: 14/1 (150/1)
- Vincent Van der Voort: 16/1 (300/1)
While this latest result wasn't a big shock given Durrant's gravitas in the sport, many were still expecting Snakebite to make the most of his arch-rivals being knocked out in what was regarded a tougher top half of the draw and claim his second televised title of the season - and fourth overall - having also won the Masters.
It was looking good when he stormed into a 4-1 lead despite missing 11 darts at doubles but soon his fortune would run out as the mentally-strong Teessider refused to lie down in adversity.
Durrant, who leads the Premier League ahead of next month's resumption, hit checkouts of 99, 108, 104 and 92 in the next five legs to go 6-4 up before a classy 11-darter extended his advantage further still.
Wright pulled one back before 86 and 121 checkouts on the bullseye secured back-to-back 12-darters to square a topsy-turvy match again but he wasn't done yet as he made it four legs on the trot for an 8-7 lead.
At that point, the 50-year-old was averaging around four points more and had all the momentum but then a missed dart at tops for 9-7 allowed Durrant to level a gripping encounter with a 76 finish.
A pair of 14 darters followed - the second of which coming after Wright missed an attempt at the bull - put him one away from victory before sealing it in style with a 90 checkout.
Duzza averaged 98.36 compared to Wright's 100.87 and although he hit half as many 180s with four he was far more clinical on the outer ring as he hit 11 of his 24 double attempts, with Snakebite spurning 22 of his 30.
"I’m so proud to have won that game, I’ve got so much respect for our World Champion and to beat him means the world," said 49-year-old Durrant, who reached the 2019 World Matchplay semi-finals on his debut.
On being favourite to defeat Vincent van der Voort in the semi-finals, he added: "Of course if you looked at the draw you would expect to face Daryl but take nothing away from Vincent, he is playing as well as anyone and these conditions suit him more than Blackpool. I won’t take my eye off the ball, I know I need to play well to beat him."
Jackpot could pay out
Anyone who backed Adrian Lewis pre-tournament at 80/1 will be starting to rub their hands together at the prospect of a big payout after he reached the quarter-finals with an impressive 11-7 victory over Danny Noppert.
Although Jackpot has won two world titles at the height of his career, he may regard a maiden World Matchplay crown this year as his finest achievement considering how much he's struggled in recent times.
He came to Milton Keynes on the back of a desperately disappointing Summer Series and while his opponents so far haven't been the strongest of contenders, his confidence continues to build in a wide open tournament thanks to an average of almost 100 compared to Noppert's 87.63.
Lewis also hit a pair of 100+ checkouts, including a match high 120, hit three more 180s with four and pinned 11 of his 26 attempts at doubles as the Dutchman had to convert seven of his 11 just to stay in touch.
His finishes from 107 and 120 came either side of Noppert hitting his fifth double from seven attempts to level at 5-5, but when the Stoke thrower went 7-6 up, there was only going to be one winner as he raced to the line.
"I’m feeling fitter and I’m feeling a lot more positive. I know I can be better but these are good signs,” said Lewis. "I tried to get myself going but Danny is a top player and doesn’t give you much back, I had to work hard for that.
"Dimi is a great young player and is getting better. I’m going to have to use my experience and battle hard to make the semis."
Dimitri's dreams becoming a reality
Dimitri van den Bergh could well fulfil his rich potential this week after staging a superb comeback to defeat Joe Cullen 11-9 and reach the World Matchplay quarter-finals.
The two-time World Youth champion is enjoying a dream debut in this prestigious tournament having dumped out one of the leading favourites in Nathan Aspinall last night and now he'll face a very winnable clash against Adrian Lewis.
Van den Bergh was seemingly, however, heading for the exit when the Rockstar landed an 11-dart break of throw to go 8-5 up.
But he punished Cullen for missing two darts from tops in the next to cut the gap and from then the momentum shifted, with the young Belgian taking the next three for a 9-8 lead.
The Bradford man refused to lie down with a 118 checkout completing a 15-darter but it proved to be in vain as he failed to earn even a shot at the outer ring in either of the next two legs.
Van den Bergh averaged 93.19 compared to Cullen's 92.81 while he hit five of the nine 180s and made four 100+ checkouts, including the match high 138 in the eighth leg which cut the gap to 5-3 at the time.
The world number 26 converted 11 of his 32 attempts at doubles - with his last being at double one - while Cullen spurned 16 of his 25.
The Dream Maker arrived in Milton Keynes as a 200/1 outsider but he's now got to be considered a potential finalist considering the way the bottom half of the draw has opened up.
“It wasn’t easy today but I’m so happy to say I am starting to win ugly games, this is very important,” said the Belgian, who has reached six major quarter-finals including this year's UK Open. "It is time to start being a bit more arrogant on stage. I have dreams and now it’s time to go out and get them, no more excuses."
Dutch Destroyer does exactly that
Vincent van der Voort rolled back the years to reach his first World Matchplay quarter-final since 2009 with a thumping 11-5 victory over Daryl Gurney.
The Dutch Destroyer was a sizeable underdog against the two-time major winner having endured a disappointing season and Summer Series prior to an encouraging first-round performance, which helped him defeat Dave Chisnall.
But this latest display proves van der Voort was not merely just bucking a trend, as he scored and finished ruthlessly once again to leave Gurney trailing in his wake.
The veteran, who is clearly enjoying the switch from the Winter Gardens to the Marshall Arena, stormed into a 5-0 by the first interval with an average exceeding 104 while he reeled off another five legs on the trot to lead 10-2 after Gurney finally got himself on the board.
The Northern Irishman just wasn't applying anywhere near enough pressure with his below-par scoring but he did eventually make things look a little more respectable with finishes of 99 and 82 in the next three legs.
It was obviously far too little too late as van der Voort completed an 11-5 victory with a 96 checkout.
Van der Voort ended the match with a 97.67 average compared to Gurney's 93.79 while he hit three more maximums with five and pinned 11 of his 21 attempts at doubles as his opponent missed six of his 11.
"I can’t tell you how good it feels to win this game, the four month break has helped me a lot and I am playing well," said Van der Voort. "I’m not used to being 5-0 and 8-2 up so it was a little awkward for me finishing the game off but it was good to get the win. When I am playing one game a day I can beat anybody, things just have to go my way. I just try and take one leg at a time and I feel great, so bring on the next match."
World Matchplay: Wednesday results and quarter-final schedule
Wednesday July 22 (1900 BST)
Second Round (best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Daryl Gurney 5-11 Vincent Van der Voort
- Dimitri Van den Bergh 11-9 Joe Cullen
- Peter Wright 8-11 Glen Durrant
- Danny Noppert 7-11 Adrian Lewis
Thursday July 23 (2000 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Krzysztof Ratajski v Michael Smith
- Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
Friday July 24 (2000 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Adrian Lewis v Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Glen Durrant v Vincent van der Voort
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