(Note: Apologies for being away the last couple of days, but Christmas happened! I will fill in any previous days' gaps for continuity in due course. Thanks)
So we are now at the business end of the tournament. There are some big names, but also some surprises here. All will believe they can win and all have shown fantastic darts to get here.
Proceedings start with two surprise packages in Nathan Aspinall (pic) and Brendan Dolan. Aspinall has fought through the rounds playing excellent darts and fulfilling the potential he has promised for some time. He has hit the big darts when needed and kept a cool head even when in difficult situations. He wears his heart on his sleeve and will be cheering his big scores and finishes once again no doubt. He beat Geert Nentjes, Gerwyn Price,Kyle Anderson and Devon Petersen to get to this stage and all have been tough for him,but he has come through with a strong resilience. This resilience may well be to his advantage. His averages so far are, (to nearest whole number) 88, 92, 96 and 96, which shows that he seems to be improving as the tournament progresses.An impressive set of stats and high 90s may just win this.
Brendan Dolan is an experienced campaigner and has won on the big stage before. He will need to use all of this experience in this tricky match. Dolan has had a resurgence in form to get him here and he seems to have a real belief. His scoring has been consistent and his finishing has been particularly good. He will not be overawed by the occasion,but he must remain mindful that Aspinall will not give in, even if a set or two down. Dolan has beat Yuanjun Liu,Joe Cullen, Mervyn King and Benito van de Pas to to make the quarter finals, with the latter three opponents all experienced Tour professionals and very tough to beat. This will certainly give Dolan confidence. His averages are 87,93,92 and 90, which are slightly lower than Aspinall's, so finishing again will be very important for Dolan.
A close quarter final in prospect but I think Dolan may just win it, based on his experience.
The second quarter final is Gary Anderson (pic) against Dave Chisnall (pic) in what should be an exciting battle. Anderson, of course has been here several times before and will be used to the pressure. Although Chisnall maybe under more pressure, he has had an easier time getting to this stage.Anderson has had tough battles, including a nail biting match against Chris Dobey in the previous round,arguably the match of the tournament so far. He has also beaten Kevin Burness and another nail biter against Jermaine Wattimena. Averages have been 95, 97 and 99, so he hasn't quite been at his best, but is improving as the tournament progresses. Expect a 100+ average in this match.
Chisnall nearly went out in his first match before making a fantastic comeback against Josh Payne. After that scare he has won 8 consecutive sets without conceding any, against Kim Huybrechts and then Jamie Lewis. The scorelines are a little flattering, but shows the strength of Chisnall's big scoring. His averages are 96,98 and 99, so almost identical to Anderson's, and once again his averages are improving.
So hard to call, but will just about give it to Anderson based on his experience at this stage of the tournament, but both must play at their best otherwise, the other will pounce on the mistakes.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
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