So the evening session of Quarter Finals and two intriguing matches in store.
First up is Michael Smith (pic) against the very impressive Luke Humphries (pic). Humphries continues to impress as the tournament progresses. He came back with real quality to beat Rob Cross in the last 16.Prior to that he beat Adam Hunt convincingly and then eliminated Stephen Bunting and Dimitri van den Bergh, so no mean feat. He seems to be full of confidence and will be a tough opponent. His averages have been 98,96,90 and 100. He will probably need to play at 100+ average to get a decent amount of leg winning chances though. However,he is going from strength to strength and it just depends on whether he can handle the occasion.
Michael Smith has looked good throughout the tournament and I'm not sure we have seen the best of him just yet, so tonight could be the night. He too will have to play at 100+ average to stop Humphries, but does have the big scoring game to do so. Smith has beat Ron Meulenkamp, John Henderson and Ryan Searle, so perhaps a slightly 'easier' route, but has produced averages of 94,100 and 100, so he is obviously in good shape coming into the quarter final. If both play their best, then Smith should win, but this is close and a slip from either player will certainly be punished.
The second game is, Michael van Gerwen (pic) against the outsider Ryan Joyce (pic). Joyce may be an outsider in terms of the bookmakers or television appearances, but he has played magnificently to get here. He will be no pushover after beating Anastasia Dobromyslova, (under a lot of pressure and little crowd support), Simon Whitlock, Alan Norris and James Wade. Although a fantastic achievement, he must keep focused and not get bogged down by the big occasion. Van Gerwen will not give him many chances, so he must be clinical when presented with an opportunity to finish. Van Gerwen will throw a 100+ average unless he has a very off day. This is the standard that the others must keep to. Joyce, so far has hit averages of (to nearest whole number) 90, 90, 88, 88. He is consistent, but will need to up that by around 10 to progress.
Van Gerwen has been here before and hasn't really played his best yet, which is ominous for the other players. He will be very focused as he nears the final stages. His averages have been 103, 102 and 108, so the gulf in standard is quite visible. Van Gerwen has also beaten Alan Tabern, Max Hopp and Adrian Lewis to reach this stage,winning quite convincingly.
The pressure will be very much on Van Gerwen,so as long as he handles that he should win. But this year's competition has been anything bu predictable!
Saturday, December 29, 2018
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