Expect an epic semi-final
After seemingly every single favourite falling by the wayside since Monday evening, the Grand Prix reaches the semi-final stage and although it seems to have been riddled with shocks, this final four may not be as surprising as first thought.
First up on Saturday evening is Michael van Gerwen against Wes Newton, the former won a Players Championship event just a week ago and the latter is ranked sixth in the world and reached the final of the last major tournament, the European Championship. On the other side of the draw, we have last year’s finalist who is playing in front of a partisan crowd in Brendan Dolan and a two-time world finalist in Mervyn King. Put it like that and having this quartet making up the semi-finals seems a perfectly natural thing to be happening.
In reality it isn’t though, as the traditional major tournaments have been so heavily dominated by the men at the very top of the rankings that the guarantee there will be a new name on the trophy with two days left to play is unusual.
The favourite to have his name on that piece of silverware is van Gerwen with the bookies clearly not placing much importance on experience as he is the only man making his debut in a televised semi-final. He is also facing the highest ranked player in the competition, Newton, who before a dart was thrown, was many people’s tip to win it, so with him in the last four, there will be many people confident of collecting a big win on Monday morning. The momentum seems to be with the Dutchman, but there is no way that the Warrior can be ruled out after his ballsy comeback wins over Baxter and Nicholson. Whoever pinches it, it will be a long one, and the over 7.5 sets available at 10/11 looks a dead cert.
The first semi is equally difficult to call with a resurgent Merv King playing the best darts we have seen from him on tv for a long while. He has been threatening this after a number of quarter-final appearances in the floor tournaments, but no one really expected him to still be involved come the weekend in Dublin. He is the favourite to make the final, but it seems ridiculous to question Dolan’s ability to win in the Grand Prix where he seems nearly unbeatable. If King performs as he did against Thornton on Friday then he will win the match comfortably and it might just be worth backing him to do this at 4/5 on the -1.5 handicap market.
Wes Newton v Michael van Gerwen over 7.5 sets @ 10/11 with sky BET
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• Van Gerwen to hit the Jackpot
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