Barney and Taylor set for UK Open final
The semi-finals of the 2013 UK Open are two tantalising contests but it is hard to disagree with the bookmakers who see two men as clear odds-on favourites to make the final.
Raymond van Barneveld is expected to be the first man into the showpiece contest as he takes on Andy Hamilton in the final four. It looked like Barney was going to be heading out in the quarter-finals against Ronnie Baxter at one stage but he battled back as he has been doing all competition and will be confident in his game heading into this one.
Hamilton, in contrast, never really looked like losing in his last match with James Wade in which he was a distant second favourite. The Hammer put in the kind of solid performance that we have all come to expect from him with some very solid finishing getting him over the line against the Machine
The Hammer was a good bet in the last round because he has a very good record against Wade but he does not have such a history against Barney, in fact he has a shocking record against the Dutchman. Hamilton has beaten Barney this year but that was only his second win over him and they have now played 22 times in PDC events.
We know exactly what to expect from Hamilton and that level of performance will see him win plenty of legs but it probably won’t see him beat Barney who will just score that bit better than the man from Stoke. Hamilton will push him though and whilst most bookmakers make over 16.5 legs in the race to 10 as odds-on, Sporting Bet have made it 21/20 which looks a solid bet.
Peter Wright has arguably been the star of the tournament so far putting in a string of excellent displays to defy the odds and reach his first ever major semi-final. His 10-6 win over Adrian Lewis in the quarters is impressive with no caviat to it, but in fact the victory was even more comfortable than it appears with Jackpot never really getting close to Snakebite.
Unfortunately for the man from Lowestoft though he is running into Phil Taylor in absolutely fantastic form. He has been averaging three figures throughout the tournament and had to be at his best to see off Michael van Gerwen in the last eight. Against any of the other three semi-finalists you would give Snakebite a chance but not Taylor I’m afraid.
The pressure will be totally off Wright though and he will continue to play well, another solid performance will not be enough to cut the Power though. Taylor is 2/11 to win and the best of 9/2 on Wright is harsh but in the end will be correct. One way in which Wright can make a mark though is in the maximum department where he is certainly more prolific than Taylor who rarely fills up the treble 20 bed. Snakebite is odds-on in most places to hit the most maximums but Paddy Power have made him evens and this looks a great bet.
Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Hamilton over 16.5 legs @ 21/20 with Sporting Bet
Peter Wright most 180s @ evens with Paddy Power
• Taylor proves his superiority at UK Open
• Hamilton could just cut the Power
• Maximum markets provide quarter-final value
• Klaasen the notable fifth round value
• Newton and Part great value in fourth round
• Chisnall and Painter with main stage potential
• Burnett and Hankey to build on momentum
• More shocks on the cards in UK Open third round
• UK Open opening night: Wade has his work cut out
• Van Gerwen looks unstoppable ahead of UK Open