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Smith and Aspinall prevail in World Matchplay epics as Van Gerwen and Wright also reach Quarter-Finals

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Price calls for “respect” from the crowd as he bids for World Matchplay glory

Betfred World Matchplay 2021 Day Six preview and order of play: Semi-Final spots up for grabs

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 22 Jul 2021
Callan Rydz celebrates (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2021 World Matchplay enters the Quarter-Final stage on Thursday as the reigning champion steps up his title defence and three players vie to enter uncharted territory.

Thirty-two have become eight as the race to lift the Phil Taylor trophy enters the final straight, with five of the world’s top eight left standing.

Day Six of the Betfred World Matchplay plays host to the opening two Quarter-Finals as the stakes and format increase at the Winter Gardens.

Arguably the stand-out tie of the entire Quarter-Final line-up sees defending champion Dimitri van den Bergh take on world number one Gerwyn Price in the second match of the night.

Van den Bergh claimed the title on his debut behind closed doors in Milton Keynes 12 months ago and has extended his unbeaten record in the event to seven matches.

The Belgian ace is bidding to become only the fourth player to successfully retain the World Matchplay title since the event began back in 1994.

He opened up with a comfortable 10-5 win over debutant Devon Petersen in Round One before averaging 103.7 and hitting a Second Round record of fourteen 180s in a pulsating 11-8 victory over Dave Chisnall.

The 27-year-old would climb to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit if he can end a three-match winless run against the reigning World Champion.

Price finds himself in the Last Eight of this event for the first time since his debut appearance in 2015 and is now looking to break new ground and put his Blackpool hoodoo firmly to bed.

The Welsh ace has picked up four televised titles within the last 12 months, including the World Grand Prix and World Championship, and has looked in ominous form so far this week.

Price began his campaign with a 10-4 rout of Jermaine Wattimena before reeling off eight consecutive legs to seal an 11-3 demolition of his World Cup winning team-mate Jonny Clayton.

Price boasts a tournament checkout success rate of 50% to Van den Bergh’s 31.8% and will be out to punish any missed opportunities from the inevitable crowd favourite.

Gerwyn Price reacts (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The opening Quarter-Final sees 13th seed Krzysztof Ratajski take on rising star Callan Rydz – the lowest ranked player in this year’s World Matchplay.

Ratajski came into this event having suffered seven First Round exits on the ProTour this season but has returned to form in emphatic fashion on the iconic Winter Gardens stage.

The Polish number one brushed aside Brendan Dolan 10-4 with a 101.5 average before overpowering Luke Humphries 11-5 with a 99.9 average to reach his second successive Matchplay Quarter-Final.

Ratajski is appearing in his third consecutive major ranking Quarter-Final and fourth in total as he bids to reach the Last Four in front of the TV cameras for the first time as a PDC player.

Rydz, meanwhile, is riding the crest of a wave in a dream debut trip to Blackpool, having secured the 15th qualification place from the ProTour Order of Merit.

The Tyneside thrower came into the event as world number 54 but is already guaranteed to climb at least eight places thanks to his exploits so far and could reach world number 40 if he extends his run.

The 23-year-old, who picked up his first Players Championship title earlier this season, battled past Glen Durrant 10-6 in Round One before defeating 2019 champion Rob Cross 11-8 to reach his first televised Quarter-Final.

The action gets under way from 7pm BST, with Quarter-Final ties to be contested over the best of 31 legs.

All matches must be won by two clear legs, with a match being extended if necessary for a maximum of six extra legs before a sudden death leg is required.

WATCH WORLD MATCHPLAY DARTS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Betfred World Matchplay 2021 Day Six Schedule

Thursday July 22

Quarter-Finals

7.15pm Krzysztof Ratajski v Callan Rydz
8.45pm Gerwyn Price v Dimitri van den Bergh