King won't crack Pipe
It has been a brilliant tournament so far in Minehead with some absolutely fantastic matches in the second round especially, and it doesn’t look like tailing off as we reach the final day with some mouth-watering quarter-finals in prospect.
First up are two men not accustomed to being in the last eight of televised tournaments, Peter Wright and Kim Huybrechts and there isn’t a great deal to choose between them going into this one. The natural reaction is to lean towards the Belgian and given his superior averages in both games thus far, that feeling clearly has some weight behind it. Wright though looks as good as he ever has (at throwing darts not just in how he’s styled himself this week) and could just spring a surprise. His win on the Pro Tour seems to have done him the world of good and he’s shown great fighting spirit in both matches so far. I fancy over 16.5 legs at 10/11 with Paddy Power and this one to go to the wire.
Justin Pipe taking on Mervyn King is another tough one to call on Sunday afternoon as both have performed to a pretty similar level so far in Minehead. King should really have gone out in round one when Terry Jenkins had darts to beat him but he has hung in there despite the now customary abuse from the crowd. With Pipe being the local favourite though tonight this barracking may just reach unbearable levels and could swing the contest in Pipe’s favour. The Force also won the only time these two have met in the past at the World Matchplay last year so with the Taunton man being second favourite at 6/5 he looks good value.
The standout match of the afternoon session for many will be Simon Whitlock taking on Gary Anderson; a contest that any darts fan will be salivating in the prospect of. At their best these are two of the greatest players to watch on the planet and judging by their performances thus far they are something near their brilliant peaks. This is especially true for Whitlock who averaged an incredible 109.54 in hammering Ronnie Baxter 10-1 in the last round. The Aussie is favourite to win after that demolition but it could still go either way after Anderson has come through two of the toughest games he could ask for against Wes Newton and Robert Thornton. What is guaranteed is some serious quality and what should be an absolute barrage of maximums. This is guaranteed to be at least 17 legs, and with the form these two are in, over 10.5 180s should be no problem at all so 11/10 with Ladbrokes on this looks pretty tasty.
The Wizard may have produced the performance of round two but Phil Taylor and Andy Hamilton were certainly both contenders for that award as well. The Power’s second consecutive ton-plus average to see off the world champ was stunning and the Hammer’s gutsy battle to see off many people’s tip for the tournament Michael van Gerwen was a real turn up for the books. There seems to be only one winner here though with Taylor in the kind of mood that has opponents quaking in their boots. Hamilton has a woeful record against the Power and with the world number one on blistering form it doesn’t look like changing this afternoon. Taylor should win this one comfortably.
Justin Pipe to win @ 6/5 with bwin
Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson over 10.5 180s @ 11/10 with Ladbrokes
Phil Taylor (-4.5) to win @ 5/4 with Sky Bet