Dimitri Van den Bergh continued his unbeaten record in the World Matchplay with a thrilling 11-8 win over Dave Chisnall…
Dimitri Van den Bergh continued his unbeaten record in the World Matchplay with a thrilling 11-8 win over Dave Chisnall on Tuesday to reach the Quarter-Finals.
Reigning champion Van den Bergh came through a classic contest to avenge December’s World Championship defeat to Chisnall, hitting a staggering 14 maximums along the way.
The Belgian ace, who claimed glory behind closed doors on his debut last year, will now face world number one Gerwyn Price in the Quarter-Finals.
A puzzling start to his show-down with Chisnall saw nine consecutive legs go against the throw, before Van den Bergh held for the first time to move 6-4 ahead.
A 127 checkout on the bullseye saw five-time World Matchplay quarter-finalist Chisnall level at 6-6, and he then held to move 7-6 up.
The next four legs went the way of Van den Bergh, as the world number nine took out crucial finishes of 72 and 85 under pressure.
Chisnall stuck to his task, and after Van den Bergh missed two darts for the match, he tidied up 60 in two darts to keep the contest alive and reduce the deficit to 10-8.
However, the reprieve was short-lived as Van den Bergh wrapped up an epic victory with an 11-dart leg before celebrating with a jubilant crowd.
“It was an insane battle, a fabulous game,” admitted Van den Bergh. “I’m very proud and I’m feeling good, I’m buzzing.
“I didn’t expect to break a record but I was expecting a lot of 180s from Chizzy and I had to step it up.
“I missed a lot of doubles but I had to keep digging in, and at the end of the day I pulled through and managed to win against one of the biggest scorers in darts.
“Even though I’m the defending champion, I think I’m handling this really well. I know that my doubles need to be better in the next game, so I’ve got to be focused.
“I’m playing the world number one and World Champion, and I’m the current reigning World Matchplay champion so it’s going to be a fantastic game and I’m going to throw everything I can against Gezzy.
“I hope I can step up another level, especially with my finishing. I’m feeling good and the game against Dave has given me a lot of confidence.”
Price made it through to the Quarter-Finals in Blackpool for the first time since his debut in 2015 as he thrashed World Cup winning team-mate Jonny Clayton 11-3.
Price, who had suffered four consecutive first round exits at the Betfred World Matchplay prior to 2021, laid down a marker to the rest of the field by blowing away Premier League champion Clayton.
A hotly-anticipated contest got off to a flying start, as Price setting the tone with a 180 before neither player missed a double attempt in the opening five legs.
Clayton levelled at 3-3, before succumbing to a relentless onslaught from a fired-up World Champion, who landed checkouts of 108 and 102 on his way to reeling off eight legs without reply.
“I put Jonny under a lot of pressure from the start,” said Price. “He got back to 3-3 but I put him under the cosh from that point onwards and I was clinical on my doubles.
“I need to up my scoring game, and if I hit my doubles then nobody beats me. If I can do that and be clinical then I’ll win this tournament.
“It was a big margin but I put Jonny under a lot of pressure. He missed a couple of opportunities but I was there to punish him.
“I’m happy to win. Jonny is a great player and friend and it’s nice to get one over on a Welsh companion. There’s no friends when you’re on stage and you’re up there to do a job.”
The opening game of the night saw 2019 champion Rob Cross crash out to Callan Rydz, as the young debutant came from behind to claim an 11-7 win.
Rydz, 23, began the match slowly as Cross helped himself to a 5-2 lead.
Rydz, however, grew into the contest and won five legs on the spin, pinning the bullseye on three occasions to land finishes of 86, 89 and 92.
Despite Cross’ efforts seeing him hit a bullseye of his own for a showpiece 132 checkout, Rydz did not relinquish his lead and hit the tournament’s first 170 checkout in the penultimate leg as he moved through to his first major Quarter-Final.
“I’m in dreamland,” said Rydz, who missed just three attempts at double in the contest. “It’s better than anything I’ve experienced in darts before, my emotions are high.
“I’ve said a few times that when my finishing goes in then my confidence builds.
“They were going in first or second dart every time and I didn’t really miss the bull, but to get into a quarter-final of a TV event is a good time to do it.”
Krzysztof Ratajski reached the Quarter-Finals for a second successive year thanks to an impressive 11-5 win over Luke Humphries.
Ratajski ruthlessly punished missed doubles from Humphries, hitting two double tops for an eye-catching 140 checkout to open up a 4-0 lead.
A high-quality affair, which saw both players average just shy of 100, saw Humphries rally and the UK Open runner-up reduced the deficit to 4-5.
However, Ratajski pulled away once again, winning six of the next seven legs to set up a Thursday night meeting with Rydz.
“It was emotional for me at the end,” said Ratajski. “I know Luke can play at a really high level and I’m really happy with how I played.
“The 140 was special but I had to play very well and my average was really good.
“I think today I’m a better player than last year. I’m much more consistent and I hope I can make it to the semi-finals but I must play my best darts because Callan is a young and dangerous player.”
Betfred World Matchplay 2021 Results
Tuesday July 20
Rob Cross 8-11 Callan Rydz
Luke Humphries 5-11 Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price 11-3 Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 11-8 Dave Chisnall