The fourth World Series event of the season draws to a close on Saturday as the final eight battle it…
Anderson and Van Gerwen renew their rivalry (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The fourth World Series event of the season draws to a close on Saturday as the final eight battle it out for the Melbourne Masters title.
The opening three World Series events of the year have each produced a different winner, now a host of familiar faces aim to join the roster at the Melbourne Arena.
Seven of the eight PDC invites safely progressed through the opening round on Friday, setting up a fascinating final day in front of a 3,000-strong crowd.
Undoubtedly the pick of the Quarter-Final ties features a mouth-watering meeting between box office stars Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.
Van Gerwen has gone 86 days without a PDC title, stretching back to May’s Premier League Finals, while Anderson’s last televised singles triumph came in last September’s Champions League.
Both will be desperate to return to winning ways in the World Series, but face off for the first time since last December’s World Championship Semi-Final – which ended in a crushing six sets to one victory for the Dutchman.
Van Gerwen, whose long wait for a televised ton-plus average goes on, defeated Tim Pusey 6-2 in his opener, while Anderson averaged 97 in a 6-0 whitewash of Oceanic Masters champion James Bailey.
The world number one has won nine of their last 12 meetings in all competitions, but on current form, Anderson will fancy his chances of getting one over on his Dutch nemesis as he continues his recovery from a long-term back injury.
The opening Quarter-Final tie sees number one seed Peter Wright take on departing Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.
Wright is looking to add this title to his German Masters triumph earlier this summer but will require a marked improvement on his First Round display if he is to do so.
The flamboyant Scot averaged just 82 and changed his darts mid-match as he defeated Corey Cadby 6-4 on Friday, while Van Barneveld registered his first televised ton-plus average in 12 months by contrast.
The five-time World Champion, who has lost his last five meetings with ‘Snakebite’, averaged 106 and landed six from eight on the doubles in a clinical display to dispatch Haupai Puha 6-1 and will be keen to prove that performance was no false alarm in terms of a potential resurgence.
A repeat of last week’s Brisbane Masters final sees Rob Cross set out on the hunt for revenge against man of the moment Damon Heta.
Heta defied the odds to pull off an historic 8-7 victory to claim a first televised title a week ago, and proved that triumph was no flash in the pan as he thrashed James Wade 6-1 with a 99.6 average on Day One in Melbourne.
Heta, who began the Brisbane Masters as a 150/1 outsider, is now just 14/1 to complete a sensational double, but will be wary of a potential backlash from the world number two.
Cross is bidding to add this title to his 2018 Brisbane Masters success but comes up against a player in the form of his life and with a partisan Australian crowd behind him.
Daryl Gurney looks to make it back-to-back Semi-Final runs on his first visit Down Under when he takes on Aussie number one Simon Whitlock.
Gurney defeated MVG last week before going down 8-3 to Cross and will be determined to go a step further and challenge for a third televised title.
The Northern Irishman has won 12 of his 16 previous encounters with Whitlock, including a highly-charged 2017 World Grand Prix final, but ‘The Wizard’ will look to use the backing of his home crowd in an attempt to put ‘Superchin’ to the sword.
Whitlock averaged 97.6 in a solid 6-3 win over Mick Lacey in Round One and is out to make it back-to-back Semi-Final appearances in his homeland.
The action gets underway from 10am BST (7pm local time), with all matches to be contested over the best of 15 legs.
Television coverage in the UK is delayed, however you can watch every match LIVE via the link below.
Melbourne Darts Masters 2019 Match Schedule
Saturday August 17
10.00am Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
10.45am Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
11.30am Rob Cross v Damon Heta
12.15pm Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock
1.00pm Wright/Van Barneveld v Van Gerwen/Anderson
1.45pm Cross/Heta v Gurney/Whitlock