A little while ago our lead reporter caught up with the remarkable Mikuru Suzuki. As well as revealing her discomfort at having to wear shoes in her own house, against Japanese tradition, to play Phil Taylor, she enjoyed a full Q & A session ‘our man in Japan’:
Darts World: What was your childhood like, where did you grow up in Japan?
Mikuru Suzuki: I grew up in Osaka in a city called Katano. It’s a bit in the countryside with lots of nature. I think I was a quite active child.
DW: How many in your family? Brothers and sisters?
MS: We are a family of three. My husband and son. I also have an older brother who is two years older.
DW: What did you first want to be when you grew up for a job?
MS: I had no specific career in mind but I wanted a job that allows me to talk with other people.
DW: When did you first play darts, how old and where?
MS: I was 26 when I threw my first darts. My friend took me to a dart bar and we played there.
DW: What was your first big win which meant you knew you could go professional?
MS: There is a soft (electronic) darts pro tour (for which, a player has to get a pro license) in Japan. I think it was the first win of one of those tour stop in Nagoya.
DW: What did the people close to you think of you playing darts for a career?
MS: I became a professional dart player after getting married and I can continue to be so thanks to the understanding and support of my husband. I think I am lucky with the support of my close ones.
DW: What has been your favourite darts match so far?
MS: I think it was my first at Lakeside against Lisa, that January. I remember that the enjoyment of the game took over the nervousness and I manage to get the win.
DW: Do you believe that women can compete with men and beat them on a regular basis?
MS: Currently it is still hard but definitely want to get closer to that.
DW: What is your ambition in darts?
MS: To be the number one on the planet.
DW: What do you think of the standard of the Ladies game? Who are your biggest rivals?
MS: I think the standard will still rise a lot.
DW: Do you think Beau Greaves is going to be the future of the Ladies game?
MS: I think she has a huge potential still inside her.
DW: How do you think your game can improve?
MS: I think it will take time but I can improve it by trying to reach the level of the men.
DW: What’s been the most exciting thing about coming to the UK? London?
MS: Maybe the shopping part? I also love to go to the grocery stores!
DW: Are there more talented younger players coming through from Japan?
MS: I think there will be more and more indeed. The road is built, so why wouldn’t they?
OM: Do you think we will one day see a Japanese mens World Champion?
MS: I strongly believe so. The dart level in Japan, in Asia is currently going through a big growing period.
DW: What is your favourite food and drink?
MS: I like spicy food and black tea.
DW: What is your favourite food and drink in the UK?
MS: It’s not a meal food but I really like the Salt and Vinegar crisps! I like things like the HP sauce and malt vinegar that is not common in Japan.
DW: Who is your sporting idol?
MS: I think it might be Saori Yoshida who was called the strongest human on earth. I also am trying to be the best dart player.
DW: Are you proud of what Japan achieves in other sports. Like how they did in the Rugby World Cup?
MS: Yes, especially the Rugby World Cup was a fantastic event and people were quite excited!
DW: Do you have any hobbies or other interests.
I like singing Karaoke and golf. But I am not good at either.
PETER WRIGHT has turned into Gordon Ramsay in lockdown as he cooks up a bid for the PDC Home Tour title.
The reigning World Champion has gone all a la dart carte with the frying pan looking after the family during the coronavirus crisis. Wright, 50, takes his place tonight (Tues) in the last 32 of the online streaming event against Ryan Murray, Cristo Reyes and Jelle Klaasen.
Snakebite has been working flat-out on his farm building a 40 foot greenhouse, helping new born chicks settle into life while Jo has been making face masks for her hair salon – when it re-opens – and knitting clothes for Michael van Gerwen’s new baby boy.Plus Snakebite has been taking on lockdown lodger and fellow player Dimitri Van den Bergh at chess, archery and pool.He added: “I’m actually loving time off to be fair. We’ve been very busy. I’ve worked out that I’m a good cook as well. Jo tells me I am anyway!“I’ve been making sweet and sour chicken balls, toad in the hole, corned beef pie, poached eggs and my favourite roast dinners.“
Jo is also a dressmaker as well as a hairdresser. I organised her sewing room at last so now the sewing machine is at full blast. She’s made a hat and clothes for Michael’s young baby as well as face masks for when the salon finally opens again.“We’re also building the new 40-foot polytunnel greenhouse which is really hard work and I’ve found a way of growing tomatoes out of a two-liter bottle. Plus we’ve also got some new rabbits. It’s never not busy here!
“But obviously my first concern right now is Jo and that she comes through this op all safe and successful.”
World No.2 Wright is in bullish mood after winning his qualifying group a week ago and is the top-seeded player left in the competition alongside the likes of Rob Cross, Gary Anderson, Nathan Aspinall, Glen Durrant, and Dave Chisnall. He added: “Of course I’ll hit the practice board now. I think Dimitri will help me. I’m still in the competition, I’m the World Champion and I think I’ll win it. You ain’t seen nothing yet!
“It was a tough last group to win over Justin Pipe, Krzysztof Ratajski and Adam Hunt. Justin is always awesome, he never gives up. It’s never easy playing Justin. I used to look up to Justin when I was trying to get better and improve myself when he was winning all the Players Championships. He’s a quality guy and a quality dart player.
“We all know that Krzysztof is a fantastic player and he’s going to get even better in the future. He’s immense.“
All he does is practice and practice and try and be better than anyone else. Respect to him, he’s a hard man to beat.”
Gary Anderson enjoyed a perfect night on his Unibet Home Tour debut to win Group 30 on Saturday night.
Two-time World Champion Anderson, who improved his Wi-Fi connection especially to take part in the tournament, took little time in adjusting to the home-staged concept with a 5-1 defeat of Dirk van Duijvenbode in his opener.
Another 5-1 win followed for the Scot, this time over Dimitri Van den Bergh, while Kim Huybrechts also enjoyed back-to-back victories to set up a shoot-out for the group in the final match of the evening.
Anderson ran out a 5-2 winner to book his place in the second phase of the competition.
The Unibet Home Tour continues on Sunday night with Group 31, which will see two-time Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price in action.
Unibet Home Tour Group 30 – Saturday May 16 Gary Anderson 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode Kim Huybrechts 5-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh Kim Huybrechts 5-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode Gary Anderson 5-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-0 Dirk van Duijvenbode Gary Anderson 5-2 Kim Huybrechts
Rob Cross became the highest ranked player to win his group on the Unibet Home Tour so far as he won all three games on Night 21.
The world number saw off William Borland, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Karel Sedlacek to top the group.
A routine 5-2 victory over Borland kicked things off, before edging out Van den Bergh 5-4 in a bizarre game in which he averaged nearly 10 points less than his opponent and survived a number of matched darts.
But it was in the final game of the night that Cross displayed his best stuff. Sedlacek started in superb fashion, moving into a 4-0 lead and looking set to top the group.
Cross then began to find his champion’s touch and fired in some incredible stuff to clinch five straight legs and seal the victory.
Van den Bergh ended the night in second spot with his early 5-1 victory over Sedlacek boosting his leg difference, but he was on the receiving end of a superb performance from Borland in the penultimate game of the night, with the young Scot averaging 103.8 in a 5-3 victory.
The Unibet Home Tour continues tomorrow and can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.
Karel Sedlacek will replace Derk Telnekes in Thursday’s Unibet Home Tour Group 21.
Czech Republic number one Sedlacek will take the place of Dutchman Telnekes, who is now unable to compete on Thursday for family reasons with his wife’s shifts as a healthcare worker in the Netherlands having changed.
Telnekes is, though, still hoping to take part in the Unibet Home Tour in one of the remaining group phase nights this month.
Sedlacek will now join former World Champion Rob Cross in Group 21 on Thursday evening for what promises to be another memorable night of live darts being shown on PDCTV, through international broadcasters and via bookmakers’ websites.
Group 21 will also feature two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and emerging Scottish talent William Borland.
Unibet Home Tour Group 21 Thursday May 7 Rob Cross v William Borland Dimitri Van den Bergh v Karel Sedlacek William Borland v Karel Sedlacek Rob Cross v Dimitri Van den Bergh Dimitri Van den Bergh v William Borland Karel Sedlacek v Rob Cross
All Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.
Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.
As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour will also be broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
Fans in the UK & Ireland can watch through the Sky Sports App.
Peter Wright has swapped clogs for eggs as he gets used to life in lockdown after taking the world crown.
The Livingston ace should have been strutting his stuff for two nights in front of a sea of orange 22,000 Dutch fans in Rotterdam this week.
But due to the coronavirus lockdown, instead of the bright lights and glamour of the Premier League, Snakebite has been supplying eggs to the elderly from his farm in Suffolk and clearing out poop from the chicken coop.
World Champ Wright, 50, said: “We’ve been giving out eggs to the local community during this time. Jo put it out on our Facebook community page that eggs can be collected and we’ve given the neighbours some as well.
“All this shutdown stuff works, we’ve all got to do it for everyone’s health and everyone’s benefit.
“Just be safe, just be careful and help the elderly if you can. All these little bits.
“Jo put up on our local shop if any of the elderly needed any eggs because they’re running out in some shops and supermarkets, then we’d also take them round from a distance, obviously.
“It’s been quite nice to hit the pause button in some ways. Instead of just being home for one and a half days a week, I’m here full-time which is great.
“I’ve just managed to put the Christmas decorations away at last, it’s been that hectic since the Worlds!
“I’ve been doing all the odd jobs that haven’t been done for years. I’ve even cleared out Jo’s sewing room.”
Wright admits that darts isn’t the main thing on his mind right now but would be gutted if he couldn’t bid to retain the World Cup for Scotland with the event on June 18 under threat because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said: “Obviously darts isn’t a priority right now. I wanted to retain the World Cup for Scotland with Gary (Anderson) and we don’t know if that will happen right now. I miss the competition of playing but everyone’s health comes first, end of story.”
The caring star, crowned World Champ on New Year’s Day, has even taken on a lodger in double World Youth Champ Dimitri van den Bergh – and he’s also been helping with farm duties.
Wright added: “We’ve got young Dimitri staying with us. He’s been here since the last Pro Tour in Barnsley, he didn’t want to chance travelling home because of the restrictions and he’s been here since.
“Dimitri is helping me out with a bit of practice every now and again. Two world champions practicing together can’t be bad.
“It’s a bit tough – he wants to go home and see his parents, stuff like that. It’s tough on him but he’s thinking of moving to the UK soon anyway to try the darts 100 per cent. Being UK based gives him a taster, I suppose.
“We were out on the farm collecting eggs the other day, I said ‘your job is not to drop them’, so he’s having fun.
“I’ve been practising a lot with Dimi, but just using all sorts of different darts. It will take a year for me to get through using all the different darts I use!
“Seriously though, I do change a lot as I practice otherwise I get bored and I won’t want to use them again when the Premier League starts up again.”
Wright’s wife Jo was meant to be in hospital yesterday (Thurs) for a major spine op but it was cancelled at the last minute because of the Covid-19 crisis.
He added: “The hospital phoned her up and it was OK, they definitely wanted to go through with it. They said their beds are OK for another fortnight. But then she got a message at 7am on Thursday morning to say it was off under Government authority.
“It was a massive worry for us. It’s a very big operation as it is on her spine. But it would have also put her into the vulnerable category for coronavirus. We’ve been through this as a family and Jo was adamant she wanted to go ahead with it.
“The operation could have gone wrong and she could have ended up in a wheelchair.
“I’m always a house husband anyway, I do all the work. I can’t even escape now to play darts all over Europe, so I have to do as I’m told or I’m in deep trouble!
“The strange thing is that this enforced time at home has worked out really well for us. Because if the op had gone ahead I would have been at home permanently to look after Jo which I couldn’t have done if I’d been away playing.
“I did say to her the plan was I would miss the Premier League if she wanted me to. But she said no way, I was to carry on playing.
“It’s a condition that Jo has in her spine that has progressively got worse over the years. It’s giving her pain with nerves so the operation has to happen, she is having her spine fused together in the lumber region and will be in hospital for 3-5 days. It will also include four to six screws and plate or rods put in her spine.”
Nine-dart hero Jonny Clayton joined big guns Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross in the Ladbrokes UK Open quarter-finals following a dramatic day which saw three former champions knocked out in Minehead.
The £450,000 multi-board event continued with the fifth and sixth rounds at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, as the remaining 32 players were whittled down to just eight on Saturday.
It was Welshman Clayton who stole the headlines with a brilliant nine-darter, his first in competition, as he moved into the quarter-finals of the event for the first time.
Clayton had produced a superb display in a 10-4 fifth round win over Joe Cullen, before enjoying his moment of perfection in the 12th leg of his 10-8 defeat of Chris Dobey in the last 16; following two 180s with a 141 finish.
That gave Clayton an 8-4 lead, with Dobey continuing his fightback from 5-0 down with checkouts of 117 and 104 as he pulled back to 9-8 before the Welshman eventually closed out the victory.
“It’s a very special moment for me and I’m chuffed to bits,” said Clayton, who meets Jamie Hughes in the quarter-finals. “It’s my first nine-darter in any tournament, so it’s a good feeling.
“I’ve had a few in practice but only my dog was watching, so to do it in front of a crowd has shown that I can do it.”
Clayton is now aiming to claim his maiden televised title on Sunday, and added: “I’m on the big stage tomorrow and I can’t wait – my confidence is high. I’ve done well here before and I’d love to go all the way.”
Clayton’s nine-darter was the ninth in the history of the UK Open, and the first since Van Gerwen achieved the feat in 2016 against Cross.
It was also the second in a televised event inside a fortnight, following Michael Smith’s nine-darter in the Premier League in Dublin, as well as being the 13th in all PDC events so far in 2020.
Clayton was joined in winning through to the quarter-finals by fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price, who edged out Germany’s Gabriel Clemens 10-9 by landing an 11-darter in the deciding leg of their sixth round contest.
The world number three – who celebrated his 35th birthday on Saturday – also overcame Ricky Evans in the last 32, and is now aiming to win his third televised title.
“It’s a nice birthday present for me!” said Price, who meets Dimitri Van den Bergh in the quarter-finals.
“I’ve played well in all three games I’ve played so far but in the first two I took my chances. I missed some doubles early on against Gabriel and he got in front of me.
“He was full of confidence and played well but I stuck in there and I’m thankful that I had such a good last leg. I’m through and I can look forward to Sunday now.”
Two-time UK Open champion Van Gerwen overcame a scare against Jason Lowe in the fifth round before returning to top form in the last 16 with a dominant 10-4 win over James Wade, averaging 109 and missing just four attempted doubles.
The world number one had looked set to stroll through his opening encounter on Saturday when he landed finishes of 170 and 116 to move 5-0 up.
Lowe – a builder from the Midlands who won a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January – hit back to level and also led 9-8 before the Dutchman took the final two legs for a narrow win before later seeing off two-time winner Wade.
“There’s still a lot of work to do and I need to keep my focus because I want to win this tournament,” said Van Gerwen, who plays Rob Cross in the last eight.
“I made it difficult for myself this afternoon but I’m very happy with my performance tonight.
“I feel good and I want to build from here. They all still want to beat me but so far I’m playing a good tournament and I want to do some more damage from here.”
World Champion Wright, the 2017 UK Open winner, saw his hopes of a second triumph in the event ended by Daryl Gurney in an entertaining sixth round contest as the Northern Irish ace moved into the quarter-finals.
Wright – a 10-6 winner against Ian White in round five – led 3-1 early on against Gurney, who took out 136 and 148 on his way to a 10-6 triumph.
Gurney also had to show his fighting spirit in round five, as he came from 7-1 down to defeat William O’Connor 10-9, surviving three missed match darts in a dramatic deciding leg.
The Northern Irish star now plays Jelle Klaasen, who won through to his first televised quarter-final since the 2016 European Championship with an impressive 10-9 win over 2018 winner Gary Anderson.
Klaasen, who has dropped out of the top 32 since needing a wrist operation in 2017, produced some of his best darts since as he prevailed in a tight contest with Anderson to follow an earlier 10-1 defeat of Steve West.
“It’s been a while since I felt so relaxed on stage, even when I was under pressure,” said Klaasen, a semi-finalist four years ago.
“I had the wrist surgery [in 2017] and it takes a while to get the confidence back, but I’m happy that slowly it’s getting there.
“The belief is back and I know I can perform under pressure, and that showed against Gary. If I score like I can and hit my doubles like I have this weekend, I can beat anyone.”
2019 UK Open finalist Cross battled into the quarter-finals with victories over St Helens duo Michael Smith and Stephen Bunting in a hard-fought Saturday.
Cross survived a missed match dart – at the bull for a 164 finish – from Smith in the deciding leg of their fifth round tie, before coming from 8-7 down to win three straight legs in a 10-8 defeat of Bunting.
“I’ve pulled through a few gritty games and I’m grinding out results, which is what you need to do,” said Cross.
“I’m still not starting as well as I want to, and I can’t do that against Michael, but I’m not a million miles away. I’ve got to take my chances and I’m looking forward to the game because you know what you’re going to get against Michael.”
Hughes booked his place in a first quarter-final at a televised PDC event with a 10-5 defeat of Mensur Suljovic, following up an earlier 10-7 defeat of Martin Atkins.
Two-time World Youth Champion Van den Bergh defeated both Matthew Edgar and Kyle McKinstry on Saturday as he moved into the UK Open quarter-finals for the first time.
McKinstry had defeated Martin Schindler 10-5 in the fifth round to continue his best-ever run in a PDC televised event, having begun the tournament in Friday’s first round with a win over Fallon Sherrock.
Wade had matched Klaasen’s margin of victory in round five with a 10-1 defeat of Kim Huybrechts, while Simon Whitlock, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Simon Stevenson and Andy Boulton also exited in the last 32.
The Ladbrokes UK Open concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s quarter-finals followed in the evening session by the semi-finals and final, with a £100,000 top prize on offer for the eventual champion.
Van Gerwen is the 11/10 favourite with sponsors Ladbrokes, with Price 5/2 as he aims to capture a title which evaded him in the 2017 final.
Gurney is rated 15/2 ahead of Cross (9/1), with Clayton (14/1), Hughes (16/1), Van den Bergh (18/1) and Klaasen (25/1) all seeking to claim their maiden PDC televised ranking titles on Sunday.
2020 Ladbrokes UK Open
Saturday March 7
Chris Dobey 10-5 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 10-9 Jason Lowe
Peter Wright 10-6 Ian White
Rob Cross 10-9 Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney 10-9 William O’Connor
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Ricky Evans
James Wade 10-1 Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson 10-5 Simon Stevenson
Jonny Clayton 10-4 Joe Cullen
Mensur Suljovic 10-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Stephen Bunting 10-2 Alan Tabern
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-4 Matthew Edgar
Jamie Hughes 10-7 Martin Atkins
Jelle Klaasen 10-1 Steve West
Kyle McKinstry 10-5 Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens 10-6 Andy Boulton
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Gabriel Clemens
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 James Wade
Jelle Klaasen 10-9 Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney 10-6 Peter Wright
Jonny Clayton 10-8 Chris Dobey – Jonny Clayton hits nine-darter
Jamie Hughes 10-5 Mensur Suljovic
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Kyle McKinstry
Rob Cross 10-8 Stephen Bunting
Sunday March 8
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Jelle Klaasen
Jamie Hughes v Jonny Clayton
Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Semi-Finals & Final
Ladbrokes UK Open – Tournament Winner Odds
11/10 Michael van Gerwen
5/2 Gerwyn Price
15/2 Daryl Gurney
9/1 Rob Cross
14/1 Jonny Clayton
16/1 Jamie Hughes
18/1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
25/1 Jelle Klaasen
Odds courtesy ladbrokes.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.
Brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts enjoyed home wins as the 2020 European Tour season got underway on Friday with the first round of the Belgian Darts Championship.
The £140,000 tournament at Expo Hasselt opened with wins for four Belgian hopefuls, as the Huybrechts brothers were joined in the last 32 by Dimitri Van den Bergh and Mike De Decker.
Former World Cup finalist Kim Huybrechts enjoyed a 6-2 win over Ryan Harrington to begin his bid for a third European Tour title.
The Antwerp thrower led 3-0 before Harrington hit back to 3-2, but he crucially missed four darts to level in leg six as Huybrechts capitalised on the let-off to close out victory, setting up a second round tie with Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Elder brother Ronny was in clinical form as he landed six doubles from nine attempts in a big 6-1 win over World Youth Champion Luke Humphries, and he now plays Michael Smith.
Two-time World Youth Champion Van den Bergh picked up a 6-3 win over Derk Telnekes, creating a second round meeting with 2019 Czech Darts Open champion Jamie Hughes.
Youngster De Decker, meanwhile, was a narrow 6-5 winner over Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp, setting up a tasty tie with world number one Michael van Gerwen on Saturday.
There was disappointment, though for Geert De Vos as the qualifier went down 6-2 to Danny Noppert, while Steve West whitewashed newcomer Jeffrey van Edgom 6-0.
2019 Brisbane Darts Masters champion Damon Heta enjoyed a superb European Tour debut with a 6-0 whitewash of Michael Barnard, averaging an impressive 102.48 in the win.
Dirk van Duijvenbode also posted a ton-plus average, seeing off Luke Woodhouse 6-4 with six doubles from ten attempts and a 101.59 average in moving through to meet number two seed Ian White.
Germany’s Gabriel Clemens now plays Krzysztof Ratajski – the winner of last year’s final European Tour event in Gibraltar – in round two after defeating Callan Rydz 6-3.
Steve Lennon defied finishes of 151 an 124 from Rowby-John Rodriguez as he came from 3-2 down to win 6-3 and progress to a second round tie with James Wade.
Mervyn King was a 6-4 winner over Justin Pipe in a clash of former European Tour event winners, securing a meeting with Glen Durrant on Saturday.
Dutch debutant Martijn Kleermaker survived a fightback from 5-1 down by Stephen Bunting before claiming a 6-4 win in his first European Tour appearance, and he now plays Joe Cullen in round two.
Wesley Plaisier was another Dutchman to progress, edging out Slovenia’s Benjamin Pratnemer 6-5 in a tight contest to earn a meeting with world number three Gerwyn Price.
Recent Players Championship winner Ryan Searle was too strong for debutant Darren Penhall with a 6-3 success, setting up a second round tie with Mensur Suljovic.
Steve Beaton now plays Nathan Aspinall in round two after seeing off Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung 6-4, while Andy Hamilton made a winning return to the European Tour stage with a 6-5 defeat of Andy Boulton, moving himself through to a meeting with World Champion Peter Wright.
Saturday’s second round will be followed on Sunday by the final day of action as the £140,000 tournament culminates. For tickets, visit www.pdc-europe.tv or purchase at Expo Hasselt.
Coverage of the Belgian Darts Championship is available for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide, as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites.
Darts World.com’s ‘Resident Pro’, Colin Osborne, has nominated his seven suggestions for the PDC Challenger slots in this year’s Premier League. With an additional Wildcard!
With Hendo and Fallon Sherlock already nominated, for weeks one and two, The Wizard has gone for some serious proven ability in his main selections.
Johnny Clayton is the first name on the list. With William O’ Conner making up a celtic pairing for weeks three and four.
Luke Humphries and Joe Cullen will provide stiff opposition, for their opponents, if Colin gets his way. Both have major experience and have proven ability under serious pressure.
Chris Dobey gave good value during the recent World Championships and had a decent Premier League try out last year. Meanwhile, Jeffrey de Zwann is proving a popular pick with everyone.
Colin’s picks seem to represent the younger generation and his no. 7 is no exception. He goes for Dimitri Van Den Bergh who has already shown enough class, and bottle, to hit a 9 dart leg in a TV major.
Colin’s Wildcard entry is RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD. After a rest up he could prove inspired in Rotterdam.
The Wizard’s selections in full:
W1—Hendo W2— Sherrock W3—Jonny Clayton W4—Willy O Conner W5—Luke humphries W6—Joe Cullen W7—Dobey W8—De zwann W9—Dimi Van den Berg
Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price booked their places in the quarter-finals of the 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace on Saturday as two-time winner Adrian Lewis exited the event.
Day 13 of darts’ biggest event saw the final six ties from the last 16 take place, with Wright and Price among the players to ensure spots in Sunday’s quarter-finals.
Former runner-up Wright came through a tense tie-break to defeat Jeffrey de Zwaan 4-3, having surrendered a 3-0 lead in sets to the Dutchman.
Wright got off to a flying start, landing a 149 finish on his way to taking the first three sets, including a dominant run of six successive legs to go within a touching distance of the quarter-finals.
Finishes of 130 and 76 followed from the Scottish World Cup winner, who looked to have taken an unassailable position at 3-0 up in sets and 2-0 up in the fourth.
However, De Zwaan recovered from the brink of defeat by winning three legs in a row to get his first set on the board, and then turned the game on its head by winning the next two sets to level at 3-3.
An epic contest went all the way to a tie-break, before the seventh leg of the decider saw Wright land a 180 on his way to a crucial break of throw which he followed up with a hold to seal his place in the last eight, where Luke Humphries awaits.
“I just ran out of energy, I was feeling really bad up there after the first three sets,” admitted Wright, who will make his fifth World Championship quarter-final appearance on Sunday.
“The good thing is that games under pressure like this can help lift your level to where it needs to be for the rest of the tournament.
“I was waiting for Jeffrey to start playing, I knew he would but I didn’t want him to!
“Luke is another quality player, I played against him many years ago and he was scarily good then so it’s no surprise to me to see how well he’s progressed.”
World Youth Champion Humphries reached the quarter-finals for a second successive year after a dominant display saw him complete a 4-1 victory against Kim Huybrechts.
Humphries hit ten 180s in an entertaining encounter which turned in his favour in the deciding leg of set three when his Belgian opponent declined a dart at the bullseye for an 83 checkout and he took full advantage with a 146 finish.
Huybrechts had snatched the first set after Humphries missed three darts at double top but the 24-year-old won nine of the last ten legs to seal a comprehensive win.
World number three Price made it through to the quarter-finals for the first time as he overcame Simon Whitlock 4-2 despite not being at his brilliant best.
After Australian number one Whitlock missed four darts to win the opening set, Price pounced and then landed finishes of 108 and 72 on his way to doubling the advantage.
A typically resilient Whitlock fought back to take two of the next three sets, only for Price to hit crucial finishes of 112 and 72 to set up a meeting with Glen Durrant.
“I think that was probably the worst I played for a long time,” Price admitted. “Simon missed a lot of doubles and so did I, but someone had to win it and thankfully it was me.
“I tried my hardest but sometimes when you try too hard it never happens.
“I played fantastic against John Henderson but this game was just one I was glad to get out of the way. I’m sure Glen and myself will have a decent game tomorrow.”
Three-time Lakeside Championship winner Durrant continued his dream Alexandra Palace debut with a hard-fought 4-3 win over local rival Chris Dobey.
A nip-and-tuck affair saw Dobey claim the opening set, only for the Northumbrian to concede two-leg leads in the next two sets as Durrant’s set-play experience came to the fore.
A 109 finish saw Durrant extend his lead to 3-1 in sets, only for a determined Dobey to win six of the next eight legs to take the contest to a decider.
Durrant outscored Dobey in the final set, not allowing his opponent a dart before crowning victory with a 146 finish.
Two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh progressed to the quarter-finals after twice coming from two sets behind to beat Lewis 4-3 in a thrilling encounter.
Lewis took out a 123 checkout in the opening leg on the way to claiming each of the first two sets by three legs to one.
Van den Bergh took set three by the same margin but Lewis edged the fourth 3-2 with the aid of a 113 finish to open up a 3-1 lead.
Two-time World Champion Lewis added a third ton-plus checkout with a 136 in set five but it proved to be in vain as Van den Bergh won the set 3-1 to ignite his fightback.
Finishes of 98 and 76 helped the Belgian take the sixth set to force a decider, which he won 3-1 to reach the last eight, where he will face 2019 UK Open Champion Nathan Aspinall.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen will face Darius Labanauskas after the Lithuanian reached the quarter-finals for the first time after defeating Steve Beaton in the opening match of the day.
Labanauskas took out 114 to edge the opening set 3-2 but Beaton hit back by winning the second in a decider with a brilliant bullseye finish of 86.
The next two sets were shared before Lithuanian thrower Labanauskas went on to seal a 4-2 victory by winning six of the last of seven legs.
The William Hill World Darts Championship continues on Sunday December 29, with four quarter-final ties taking place across two sessions of action.
Aspinall will face Van den Bergh in the opening game of the day, before Humphries and Wright clash.
Van Gerwen will continue his title defence against Labanauskas at the start of the evening session, while Durrant and Price will play off for the last semi-final spot.
Day 14 will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
William Hill World Darts Championship Saturday December 28 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) 3x Fourth Round Darius Labanauskas 4-2 Steve Beaton Luke Humphries 4-1 Kim Huybrechts Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-3 Adrian Lewis Evening Session (1900 GMT) 3x Fourth Round Peter Wright 4-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan Glen Durrant 4-3 Chris Dobey Gerwyn Price 4-2 Simon Whitlock
Sunday December 29 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) Quarter-Finals Nathan Aspinall v Dimitri Van den Bergh Luke Humphries v Peter Wright Evening Session (1900 GMT) Michael van Gerwen v Darius Labanauskas Glen Durrant v Gerwyn Price
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