Raymond van Barneveld faces fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals of the PDC World Championship tonight in a repeat of last year’s third-round encounter.
‘Barney’, bidding for a sixth world title, produced a stunning display to knock out 16-time world champion Phil Taylor 5-3 and reach the last four for the third successive year.
Van Barneveld defeated Van Gerwen 4-3 at Alexandra Palace 12 months ago and is 15/4 to repeat the trick, with a tempting 9/1 on offer for him to go on to lift the trophy once again.
He told PDC.tv: “I’m very proud of what I’ve done here so far. I didn’t feel very comfortable at times but I was expecting more from Phil. I put him under pressure, though, especially in the last set.
“I’m going to play the greatest player in the world when I play Michael and I’m really excited. I can’t wait to play him.”
Van Gerwen made two 170 checkouts on his way to a crushing 5-1 victory over Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney. The world number one averaged 103.08, surpassing the 100 mark in all four matches on his way to the semi-finals.
He is the 3/5 favourite to clinch a second world title and 3/20 to beat Van Barneveld but he said: “I don’t have anything to celebrate yet. I’ve come here to do a job and I’m only a step closer.
“This World Championship is something special. I still get goose-bumps on the walk-on and I’m excited and ready for the semi-finals.”
The way the two Dutchmen are playing, expect fireworks and the 51/20 price for another 170 checkout is strongly recommended. Van Gerwen will be pushed but a 6-4 victory at 6/1 cannot be overlooked, with Van Barneveld 12/1 to secure victory in the deciding set.
A nation also collides in the other semi-final as defending champion Gary Anderson meets fellow Scot Peter Wright. Anderson, aiming for a hat-trick of world titles, overcame Dave Chisnall 5-3 in his quarter-final to extend his winning streak at Ally Pally to a record 16 matches.
After averaging 106, Anderson said: “I’m still here, still fighting and I’m happy with how I’ve been playing. I’m looking forward to playing Peter.”
Anderson is 2/5 to win the match and 11/4 to become only the third player to clinch three world titles.
Wright, the 2014 runner-up, moved another step closer to a first televised title as he beat James Wade 5-3, averaging over 100 for the fourth match in a row.
The third seed, 17/10 to beat Anderson and 8/1 to be champion, said: “I’m quite happy with how I played. James is a top player and I’m pleased to get over this one. I’ll be up for the semi-final and if I keep playing like this, you never know what could happen.”
We are tipping a 6-3 win for Anderson at 5/1 although for Wright followers, he is 6/5 to take the first set.