Michael Van Gerwen soared into the BetVictor World Matchplay quarter-finals with a thrilling 13-3 win over Peter Wright on Wednesday, as Adrian Lewis, Andy Hamilton and Dave Chisnall joined him in the last eight in Blackpool.
Dutch ace van Gerwen, the world number two, hit the highest average of the tournament so far at 105.58 in a ruthless demolition of in-form Wright, twice setting up a potential nine-darter as he out-scored his opponent.
The Lowestoft man shared the opening four legs before van Gerwen took command of the game by winning five in a row to move 7-2 up, with the run book-ended by checkouts of 94 and 104.
Wright hit back with one of four 180s he would land in the game as a 96 finish won him a third leg, but van Gerwen reeled off the next six legs without reply - taking all in between 13 and 15 darts - to sweep into the last four.
“I’m so happy to be through to the quarter-finals,” said van Gerwen. “Peter’s a great player and you don’t normally win by that scoreline against him, but I was really focused and I’m very happy with how I played.
“I played really well but I can still play better than this and I’m looking forward to the quarter-finals.
“I think there will be a nine-darter from someone this week and it would be great if I hit it, but the most important thing is winning matches and I did that again tonight.”
van Gerwen now plays Dave Chisnall in Friday’s quarter-finals, after the world number ten produced a hugely impressive performance to edge out Jamie Caven 13-10.
Chisnall hit five 180s as he took six of the game’s opening eight legs to lead 6-2, only for Caven to hit back and move 10-7 up, taking out 109, an 11-darter and twice setting up a possible nine-darter with back-to-back maximums.
Chisnall, though, found a second wind and took the game’s final six legs without reply as he booked his place in a first World Matchplay quarter-final.
“It was an exciting game and it’s brilliant to be through,” said Chisnall. “I felt comfortable early on but Jamie came back really strongly.
“It was a tense game, and it was only when I got to 12-10 that I felt I had Jamie, and I knew I had to finish it then.
“It’s probably my best performance in a televised game and it shows again that I can play with the best and I’ll try to do the same against Michael van Gerwen on Friday. We’ve never played on TV before and it should be a great match.”
Recent European Champion Adrian Lewis was another big winner on Wednesday as he took a 13-5 win over Brendan Dolan.
Although Dolan won the game’s opening leg, he was punished for a string of missed doubles as Lewis won the next ten without reply, with a 101 finish and a brilliant ten-dart leg being the highlights of the run.
Dolan took the next two to hit back, before Lewis hit a 13-darter and double nine to move to the brink of victory at 12-3.
Checkouts of 108 and 170 on the bullseye from the former World Grand Prix finalist saw him pull back to 12-5, but it was only delaying the inevitable as the world number two sealed his quarter-final place with an 11-dart leg.
“It’s great to be through and I’m still in there fighting,” said Lewis. “I handled the pace of the game well against Brendan and it was a good performance because you get nothing easily against him.
“It will be the same against Andy Hamilton in the quarter-finals because he’s one of the most solid players in the game.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, proved too strong in his all-Stoke battle with White, hitting six 180s and averaging over 96 in a consistent performance as he took a 13-7 win.
He broke throw with a 13-dart finish in the game’s opening leg and added a 12-darter as he moved 2-0 up, and though White pulled back to trail 5-4 at one stage, Hamilton pulled clear in the second half of the game.
The UK Open finalist won eight of the next 11 legs as he moved into the last eight, continuing a record of reaching at least that stage in every televised ranking event for 12 months.
“It’s great to be through to the quarter-finals but I want to take the next step now,” said the number six seed.
“It’s all well and good being a top-eight player and a regular quarter-finalist, but hopefully there’s a trophy with my name on it waiting for me in the near future, maybe even this weekend.
“I’m really relaxed and I can’t wait for the quarter-finals now because my game’s in good shape; I was solid and consistent.
“I broke Ian early on and that was important because I always had the advantage, but I still had to stay focused and close out the win.”
The quarter-finals begin on Thursday, as reigning and 13-time champion Phil Taylor plays Taunton’s Justin Pipe, the number nine seed who is in the last eight for the second successive year.
2007 champion James Wade then takes on Simon Whitlock in a clash of the players ranked fourth and fifth in the world in the night’s second contest at the Winter Gardens.
Taylor and van Gerwen are now the joint 6/4 favourites to win the World Matchplay with sponsors BetVictor, who also make them 4/5 to reach Sunday’s final in Blackpool.
Lewis is the 7/1 third favourite for victory, with Wade 12/1, Whitlock 16/1, Hamilton 18/1, Chisnall 28/1 and Pipe the 50/1 outsider with BetVictor.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Wednesday July 23
Andy Hamilton (6) 13-7 Ian White
Adrian Lewis (3) 13-5 Brendan Dolan (14)
Michael van Gerwen (2) 13-3 Peter Wright
Jamie Caven 10-13 Dave Chisnall (10)
Thursday July 25 (7pm)
Phil Taylor (1) v Justin Pipe (9)
Simon Whitlock (5) v James Wade (4)
Friday July 26 (7pm)
Andy Hamilton (6) v Adrian Lewis (3)
Michael van Gerwen (2) v Caven/Chisnall
Quarter-Finals - Best of 31 legs