After Day Five of the Betfred World Matchplay saw our first visit of the week to overtime with Michael Smith outlasting Jose de Sousa in a thriller, predictably refereed by George Noble, we look ahead to this evening’s action and the start of the Quarter Finals.
The only thing hotter last night than the Winter Gardens stage, was the action on it. In addition to the amazing game to open the night, we also saw the highest average of the tournament so far, as Peter Wright dazzled in defeating Joe Cullen.
We enter the longer format, it’s now Best Of 31 and here’s everything you need ahead of the last eight.
Unexpected duo kick us off
The opening game of the two this evening, sees the unfancied, but deserved matchup of Krzysztof Ratajski v Callan Rydz.
The Polish Eagle has been in stunning form so far this week, defeating Brendan Dolan 10-4 in round one, before comfortably despatching Luke Humphries 11-5 in round two.
For Rydz, our only unseeded player left in the competition, he knocked out a battling Glen Durrant 10-6 in round one. He then battered the bullseye in round two against Rob Cross on his way to an 11-8 win to set up the quarter final with Ratajski.
It’s the first ever meeting between the two and the first ever quarter final on TV for The Riot.
Will the relentless consistency of Ratajski be too much to handle? Or, will the man from Newcastle continue to hit the bullseye at the right time? Either way, we’ll have a major semi final debutant.
Defending Champion versus World Number One
What more needs to be said? We have the 2020 World Matchplay Champion, Dimitri van den Bergh taking on the reigning World Champion and World Number One, Gerwyn Price.
It could well be the game of the tournament.
The Dream Maker booked his spot in the quarter finals by following a 10-5 victory over Devon Petersen, by hitting 14 maximums on his way to an 11-8 win over Dave Chisnall.
The Iceman’s return to the big stage after missing the Premier League, following a positive test for COVID-19, has been very impressive. He firstly outplayed Jermaine Wattimena on his way to 10-4 scoreline, before knocking out World Cup winning teammate and Premier League champion, Jonny Clayton by a surprisingly wide 11-3 margin.
The pair have met 11 times before, and Price leads the head to head 8-3. Four of those meetings have come on the big stage, which they have shared 2-2. However both of Dimitri’s victories came back in 2016.
The last of their TV meetings also came in a Quarter Final, at the 2020 UK Open. Price won the game 10-5 in Minehead.
Will recent form continue, with Price ending the defending champions reign? Or, does van den Bergh continue his unbeaten run at the Matchplay? Will the crowd play a part?
One thing is for sure, it’ll be worth watching.
World Matchplay Day Six Schedule of Play
Thursday 22 July (1900 BST)
Quarter Final x2
Krzysztof Ratajski v Callan Rydz
Gerwyn Price v Dimitri van den Bergh
How can I follow the Betfred World Matchplay?
The Betfred World Matchplay will be live on Sky Sports in the UK. You can also watch it outside the UK via the PDC’s broadcast partners, such as RTL or DAZN.
You can also live stream the event. Find out more here.
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