Prior to this years World Matchplay Ian ‘Diamond’ White has been on fine form in Pro Tour events on the floor. This year he has reached 3 Finals, 3 Semi-Finals and 2 Quarter Finals, considering that each of these floor events contain 128 of the World’s finest players, this is an incredible achievement and because of this he has shot up the PDC Order of Merit and is now ranked number 9 in the world.
The World Matchplay draw wasn’t very nice to White as he drew former BDO World Champion and rising star Stephen Bunting. This was anticipated as being one of the closest matches of the first round, although ‘Diamond’ White came through the match pretty comfortably 10-6 with a 103 average and 38% on the checkouts setting up a second round tie with Simon Whitlock. The Australian Whitlock demolished an under-par Jelle Klaasen in the first round and looked like he was back to his best form although Ian White wasn’t about to lie down and let Simon walk over him into the Quarters. White averaged 97 in a 13-9 win and showed tenacity and calmness when he came back from a break of throw down to win rather comfortably.
MvG needs no introduction, he is World Number 1, former World Champion and on ridiculous form this year. Since the turn of the year, the Dutchman has won 12 events and reached numerous Finals and Semi-Finals beating all the the top players in the progress. He is deservedly the favourite to lift the trophy in Blackpool on Sunday.
Up until this round, van Gerwen has had it all his own way and has only dropped 6 legs in the first 2 rounds and in the 2nd round he clocked the 4th highest average in World Matchplay history when he averaged 110.93 against a rattled Jamie Lewis, although, he was so far ahead in this match that there was no pressure on him and could have contributed to the power scoring. If someone gives MvG a tough match, I don’t think we will be seeing averages as high as that.
Van Gerwen leads the head-to-head between the pair 7-2 and has won the last 6 on the bounce. The last time these 2 met was at Blackpool nearly exactly a year ago, ‘Mighty Mike’ won that 13-4.
This years edition of the World Matchplay has thrown up numerous shock results, but I cant see this one leaving your jaw on the floor. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that Ian White will give the World Number 1 a good game, but the Dutchman should continue the pursuit of his first Matchplay title into the Semi-Finals.