Sunday 30 December 2018

Semi final previews

After an anti-climax of a quarter final day, first the key numbers on the semi finals:

First game is Smith/Aspinall. Smith had what turned out to be a routine win over Luke Humphries, clocking up a 103 conventional average with blistering power scoring allowing Michael to get away with a relatively poor (at this level) checkout percentage. Aspinall had an equally easy win over Brendan Dolan, doing just enough in the scoring stages to pick up some easy legs and stepping in when Dolan missed a few doubles early to get a lead, Brendan not really having enough scoring to threaten any sort of comeback.

This is a big ask for Nathan, Smith hasn't shown any weaknesses to the extent that Aspinall will be able to capitalise, he's winning more legs, winning the legs faster and has twice the rate of hitting a twelve darter - if Aspinall is able to get a good timed leg to nick something, chances are Smith will return the favour twice as much. Michael's been deep into these sorts of events enough now that he should be able to get a lead and maintain it, I think Nathan's only real chance is to be able to come absolutely flying out of the blocks and open up a 3-1 lead to ask questions, Smith should still answer but if Smith's able to hold a lead after four sets it's going to be very difficult for Aspinall to come from behind.

The second game is the one we've all been waiting for. van Gerwen was only really threatened by Joyce up until midway through the fourth set - van Gerwen however found the key eleven dart leg when it mattered the most to grab the throw back in that fourth set and hold out for a 3-1 lead, Joyce not really finding scoring at all after that point and only picking up a couple more legs in the rest of the game. Anderson had easily his best performance so far, hitting twelve maximums, over half his doubles and was easily in three figures for the conventional average, Chisnall not having too many chances whatsoever.

I can't see how Gary's able to win this match. van Gerwen has just outscored him so comprehensively that there'll be a point where van Gerwen either grabs the game by brute force, Anderson misses a couple of key chances or half chances that he'd need to take to stay in the game, or van Gerwen takes enough of the same. There's also the nagging question of whether an even longer match than before will tell on Anderson physically, this isn't the sort of game where Gary is going to storm into a 4-0 lead, he's going to need to grind it out. 1u van Gerwen 3/5, that looks an excellent price for someone who I'm thinking wins the game three times out of four.

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