Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen renew their rivalry in the Semi-Finals of the 2021 World Matchplay in Blackpool on…
Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen renew their rivalry in the Semi-Finals of the 2021 World Matchplay in Blackpool on Saturday.
The world number two and three face off on the famous Winter Gardens stage for the right to reach Sunday’s decider and remain in the running for the £150,000 title.
The duo have met more times in PDC competition than any other current Tour Card holders and are poised for a classic contest over the long-haul format.
Van Gerwen is one of only three players to have won this title on more than one occasion, having gone back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, and is aiming to end his mini drought and claim his first silverware of the season.
The Dutch star has lost in two finals on the ProTour this season and was a semi-finalist in both the UK Open and Premier League.
He began his latest campaign at the Winter Gardens with a hard-fought 10-7 victory over Damon Heta, before averaging 100.7 in an 11-8 defeat of Ian White.
The three-time World Champion then overcame Nathan Aspinall 16-9 in Friday’s Quarter-Final in a below-par contest which saw him average just 94.7 to his opponent’s 90.2.
Van Gerwen is appearing in his fifth Betfred World Matchplay Semi-Final since 2013 – when he suffered his only defeat at the penultimate phase of the competition.
Wright has stormed into a fourth Semi-Final in Blackpool and is looking to go one better than his runner-up spot in 2017, when Phil Taylor denied him glory.
An underwhelming Premier League campaign this season saw Wright finish seventh, but the Scot warmed up for his latest trip to the Winter Gardens in style by winning Players Championship 20 just over a week ago and has picked up from where he left off.
The number two seed has dropped just 14 legs in his three matches so far, thrashing Danny Noppert 10-2 with a 99.7 average before cruising past Joe Cullen 11-5 with a 105.4 average – the highest of the tournament so far.
He then swept aside Michael Smith 16-7 on Friday with a 100.3 average, taking his overall tournament average to 101.77, five points ahead of Van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen won both of their meetings in this year’s Premier League and has dominated the overall head-to-heads, though Wright notably claimed victory in the 2020 World Championship final and goes into their latest show-down as favourite on current form.
The match gets under way from around 8.45pm BST and will be contested over the best of 33 legs.
The match must be won by two clear legs and will be extended if necessary for a maximum of six extra legs before a sudden death leg is required.
Either defending champion Dimitri van den Bergh or Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski will await the winner in Sunday’s final.
Wright v Van Gerwen – Player’s View:
Wright: “Mentally and physically I’m in the best place ever and I’m looking forward to the Semi-Final.
“Everybody wants to win this one and it would be amazing if I could do that.
“I just try to wind them all up, If they bite, they bite. I’m backing up what I said so far.”
Van Gerwen: “There’s still more in the tank and I have to show that tomorrow. I missed a lot of doubles and my scoring power wasn’t as good as I wanted.
“Tomorrow’s another really important day, this is history now and tomorrow’s the future.
“Peter is playing really good darts but he hasn’t met me yet. I know if I play my own game, he doesn’t have a chance.”