Part v Wade: Omens are good for Darth Maple
A really tasty quarter-final is in prospect on Friday as two real heavyweights of the modern game collide for a chance to meet either Adrian Lewis or Terry Jenkins in the final four.
James Wade has had about as easy a run to the last eight as he could ever have expected, dropping just one set in his opening round against Finnish qualifier Petri Korte, and strolling to whitewashes over Jelle Klaasen and Steve Farmer to arrive in the quarter-finals without playing anything like his best darts.
The Machine has been doing enough to see off the opponents put in front of him, but it is hard to tell just how good his form is due to the lack of a real test he has had to endure. Averages of over 90 in all three contests, peaking at 95.9 against Klaasen, shows that he is bubbling just under the surface and should be able to up his game when pushed. However, the other argument would be that he may not be able to stand up to any pressure when he is finally put under some.
John Part will certainly be exerting some pressure on Wade over their best of nine set clash, and has had anything but a simple path to reach this stage.
His win over an out-of-sorts John Henderson early on was relatively routine but emerging from the challenges of bang in-form Richie Burnett and Kevin Painter has shown that the three-time World Champion really means business this time around.
This is the first time the Canadian has got past round one since he lifted the trophy back in 2008 and the omens from that victorious year are good for the big man.
It was during that competition that Wade and Part met for the only time in World Championship history, and it was at the same stage they meet this time. In that contest Wade came into the clash as third seed as he does now, Part came out with a 5-4 win as the game went its full length and as we all now know he went on to win the title.
Apart from that one glorious victory for the 45-year old, the history books are well and truly in favour of the Englishman as he has won nine times when the two have clashed, compared to Part's solitary success, with two Premier League draws making up their record.
This impressive record has led to the bookmakers making the Machine a heavy favourite to make his second ever World Championship semi-final at best price 4/11 with the tournament sponsors; Part being available at 11/4.
I would expect a much tighter game than those odds suggest, though. Part should win at least two sets against Wade and backing Over 6.5 sets at odds of 4/7 with Sky Bet looks a good bet.
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