Friday night means quarter-finals night at the Empress Ballrooms in Blackpool and the final 2nd round matches were full of thrills and excitement.
Phil Taylor stormed past Steve Beaton 13-4 in what looked to be approaching his top gear. Beaton took an early 2-0 lead over the 10-time World Champion, reminiscent of some of the lethargy in Taylor’s 1st round tie, before Taylor shellshocked The Bronzed Adonis with 8 staright legs. Left in tatters, Beaton had no reply to 9 180′s and 3 dart average of 104.60 that Taylor lobbed his way. Bookies are running scared now, Stan James the market leader at 3/10 for Taylor to take his 11th title here, and why not, he was simply brilliant.
Jelle Klaasen defeated Gary Anderson 14-12 to set up a quarter final with Simon Whitlock, who progressed 13-10 courtesy of Steve Brown. Klaasen showed great spirit to win a see-saw battle which went right to the wire and is a 50/1 outsider with William Hill to take the title. Whitlock came through another close encounter, which could have been very different had Brown not messed up a chance to level 10-10 but Whitlock closed it out to book his passage. At 12/1 (Boylesports), Whitlock’s odds have not changed with this win, but it is clear that Whitlock is suffering from flu. He is a good player but surely must shake an illness to get to the final.
In last night’s other game, Kevin Painter finally won out 14-12 over Mark Walsh in an error strewn game. Painter is as long as 80/1 with Skybet as he now faces Phil Taylor.
In Friday’s 4 quarter-finals, we start with James Wade and Wayne Jones. Wade, 1/7 with Ladbrokes, should have no problems against the rank outsider over best of 31 legs. Next up, Jelle Klaasen has the oppurtunity to enter new territory as he takes on flu-ridden Simon Whitlock. Ordinarily, the 2/7 on Whitlock at Betfred would be fine but Whitlock’s slightly underwhelming 2nd round, coupled with Klaasen’s hugely confidence-inspiring victory means this could go right to the wire. Whitlock is probably still the choice, only just, to see this one out.
3rd up, and perhaps the tie of the night, is an all Dutch affair involving Co Stompe and Raymond Van Barneveld. Barney has inevitable favouratism, 3/10 with Boylesports, and has justified it with some electric displays. Stompe, 10/3 with Sportingbet, is not here for no reason though, he outplayed Mark Webster to progress and the odds are maybe a touch inflated. Stan James have a leg-line set at 26.5, which is very tricky, but the 8/11 on overs looks the bet as this might go right to the wire.
Finally, Phil Taylor will take on Kevin Painter in what could be a good acid test of what we might see from Taylor in the semi. Taylor will want to banish the slow starts that have bugged him but there is barely a doubt he will lose this one. Painter is 16/1 (Sportingbet)