Winter Gardens braced for epic semi
Michael Van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis will resume their rivalry in the BetVictor World Matchplay semi-finals on Saturday evening as the pair continue their bid to claim the prestigious title.
The duo have enjoyed many memorable games in recent years, with one of the greatest being their only previous meeting at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool at the same stage in the 2013 World Matchplay.
Lewis took a 17-15 win in a classic on that occasion, hitting 16 maximums as he moved into the final with a performance he will aim to repeat on Saturday.
The two-time World Champion has yet to hit top form in this year’s tournament, defeating Mark Webster, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright to progress to the last four.
“I’ve beaten him before and I can do it again,” said Lewis. “I played him a couple of years ago in the semis here and it was a fantastic match where luckily enough I got the win.
“I think the last ten or 15 legs at the end of the Peter Wright game I played really well, because I had to do. I’ll be happy as long as I perform all the way through the match like I did in the latter part of the match against Peter Wright, and it will be a classic.
“I’ll turn up there and do my job, and if it isn’t to be then so be it, but I’m there to win it.”
Reigning World Matchplay champion van Gerwen is also aiming to improve on the form which has seen him overcome Jamie Caven, Kyle Anderson and Dave Chisnall so far this week in his bid to add a 12th tournament victory of 2016.
The world number one, though, is in confident mood after winning five of his last six televised meetings with Lewis, whose only win came in the final of the World Cup of Darts last month.
“No-one has tested me yet but you’re probably going to see it in the next game because Adrian always tests me and I think it’s going to be a good game,” said van Gerwen. “I’m looking forward to it actually.
“I need to be prepared for Adrian because I need to turn up. If I hit my level, Adrian can’t reach that level. I lost to him [in 2013] here and lost to him, but I’m a different Michael now and he knows that as well, so I hope I can turn my game on.
“Adrian has got two World Championship titles, but I think I’ve won so much more than him and I think I am also a more complete player than him. People can say what they want, but I think I’m a better player.
“I feel comfortable. I need to make sure I keep my concentration and focus on the board and I know sometimes Adrian can get a bit lazy in his game and I need to make sure I take advantage of that and punish him when he makes mistakes.”