Gary Anderson and Michael Smith won their quarter finals on day six of the Betfred World Matchplay.
Both were made to work for their victories. The Flying Scotsman beat Simon Whitlock 16-12, while Bully Boy held off Krzysztof Ratajski with a 16-13 victory
Anderson and Smith will face each other on Saturday night in the semi finals.
Anderson holds off Whitlock
Gary Anderson got off to a strong start against Simon Whitlock on day six of the World Matchplay.
After the first three legs went on throw, The Flying Scotsman got the first break of the match by hitting D12 for a 14 darter. He capitalised on the break and held his throw to take a 4-1 lead at the first interval.
The next five legs went on throw, with no real chances carved out by either player to break. This meant Anderson had a 6-4 lead at the second interval. Whitlock then lived up to his nickname of the Wizard in the 13th leg. After blocking the treble 20 for a 120 finish, he hit two bullseye to break back the throw, and get it back to 7-6. He could not find the bull in the next leg though, and Anderson found a 17 darter to regain the break at 8-6.
The two time back to back World Champion would go 10-6 up, but Whitlock would not go away quietly. After Anderson missed a bull for a 164, Whitlock got back to 10-7 with a 15 dart break of throw. He then won three straight legs, taking out a magnificent 114 in the process, to level the match at 10-10.
Anderson broke yet again to go 12-10 up, before Whitlock fired in a 90 outshot on the bull to get the break back at 12-11, before levelling at 12-12. That would be the last two legs the Wizard would win, as The Flying Scotsman reeled off four straight legs, including an outshot on D1 in the process, to take the match 16-12 and seal his place in the semi finals.
Speaking after his gruelling win, Anderson told Online Darts: “There were some good darts, and some that I don’t know where they’re going. Whenever it’s on, the scoring is there.
“The more legs that you play on stage, you get a bit used to it. It all helps in the long run.”
Smith sees off Ratajski
In the opening quarter final on day six of the World Matchplay, Michael Smith and Krzysztof Ratajski delivered an absolute classic.
Smith started brightly, going 2-0 up with a break. Ratajski got the break straight back in the next leg though, and found a 128 finish on the bull to level up at 2-2, with Smith back on D8 after hitting 170.
Bully Boy won the next two legs to get the break of throw again, but Ratajski would not let him get away. He broke in the seventh leg and held in the eighth to level at 4-4. In the 10th leg, Smith hit 2 180s, but didn’t get a dart to break. The Polish Eagle hit a magical 150 to set up D16, which he duly hit to level the game at 5-5 at the end of the second session.
The game looked to have turned in the 15th leg. With Smith sat on 86 to hold, Ratajski took out a magnificent 161 checkout to get the break at 8-7, and go ahead for the first time in the match at the end of the third session. Bully Boy came back firing though, and found D10 for a 14 dart break to level at 8-8.
It was 9-9 when Smith turned on the after burners. Last year’s Matchplay finalist ran off five straight legs, hitting seven 180s in the process to lead 14-9. Although Ratajski got three straight legs of his own to get to 14-12, Bully Boy remained cool. He held his throw twice more to get the two remaining legs he needed for a second straight Matchplay semi final. With this result, Smith also climbed back into the world’s top four.
Smith said to Online Darts after his 16-13 win: “Krzysztof’s a classy. classy player. I just knew I couldn’t give him chances, but every leg I found a way to give him a chance!
“I’m proud of myself with the way I handled the pressure.”
Day Six Results
Krzysztof Ratajski 13-16 Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock 12-16 Gary Anderson
Day Seven Schedule of Play
Friday July 24
2x quarter finals (1900 BST)
Adrian Lewis v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Glen Durrant v Vincent van der Voort
How can I follow the World Matchplay?
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