Taylor v Pipe: Force to push the Power
Most would have been expecting yet another stellar clash between Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor in the first quarter-final at this year’s World Matchplay but thanks to Justin Pipe’s great form he has gate-crashed the party and will take on the Power himself.
Pipe was not necessarily at his very best in defeating Barney in the second round but he hit some big finishes when they were really needed and his uniquely steady style seemed to wear down the Dutchman who was seriously struggling for rhythm.
Taylor made it clear after his epic win over Terry Jenkins in round two that he will not be bothered by the pace of Pipe and his record against the Force seems to bare that out. The world number one is 6-2 ahead in the head-to-head record so he is clearly comfortable at that speed and of course the great man is not the quickest player himself.
The Power finished on an average of over 102 against Jenkins which is something of a surprise because he seemed to be struggling at times during that contest, but that just goes to show how well the Bull was playing. That made it back-to-back ton-plus averages though for Taylor and despite the odd missed double last time out he is clearly in good enough form to win this event.
The bookies can clearly only see this match going one way with Taylor a best price of 1/8 with the tournament sponsors Bet Victor with Pipe all the way out at a distant 7/1 with Bet365.
This is a very long price on a player high in confidence, in good form and in the top 10 in the world rankings. There will be plenty who will certainly see it as worth having a few pounds on the Taunton man but despite the tempting odds I am still backing the Power to win this one.
The Force will not make it easy for him though and will not be blown away. The quarters see the players race to 16 legs and Pipe is more than capable of getting into double figures even in defeat. He is evens with William Hill with a +6.5 handicap and that looks very good value.
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• Wade v Whitlock: Wizard can Wade into semis
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• Huybrechts v Wright: Expect maximums aplenty
• Whitlock v Klaasen: Matador can oust the Aussie
• Taylor hopes to prove he is still king of Blackpool
• Averages and nine-darter markets look profitable
• World Matchplay: Round One Betting