JAMES WADE 16 – 13 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade sealed his place in a sixth semi-final in seven visits to Blackpool with a 16-13 triumph over Michael van Gerwen in a high quality encounter in the Betfair World Matchplay.
‘The Machine’, who is chasing his eighth major title, set up a last four clash against Terry Jenkins after being pushed hard by his opponent in a match where neither player’s average dropped below 100 from the off.
“Michael fought hard there,” said Wade, who won the tournament in 2007.
“He’s back to playing some of the best darts he’s ever played but I’ve been practising hard and it is starting to show in patches.
“I’m looking forward to playing Terry tomorrow. I know that we will both just go up there and play darts and may the best man win.”
Wade started the strongest, hitting double ten to take the first leg before breaking with a brilliant 116 checkout in the second, which included his first maximum.
van Gerwen broke straight back before ‘The Machine’ reeled off five consecutive legs in business like fashion, hitting two more maximums along the way.
‘Mighty Mike’ stuck in his first 180 as he pulled it back to 7-3, only for Wade to win the next two legs, holding with a sensational 146 checkout, before another 180 helped him break the Dutchman’s throw once again.
van Gerwen managed to break back, cutting Wade’s lead to 9-4 but the world number three restored his six leg lead with a seventh succesful shot at double ten.
Former World Master van Gerwen grabbed the games’ fourth consecutive break of throw, taking out 25, to leave the second session five legs behind.
The Dutchman, who had hit a nine-darter 48 hours earlier, went off with his fourth 180 in the 16th leg but ‘The Machine’ took out another fabulous shot with 122 on the bull.
van Gerwen took out 24 and then 65 to reduce Wade’s lead to 11-7, despite the 2007 winner hitting his fifth 180.
‘Mighty Mike’ levelled up the maximum count before hitting double 16 to move within three legs of Wade with a break.
The 23-year-old won a fourth leg on the spin, hitting double five before Wade made it 12-9 with a 12 dart leg.
van Gerwen hit double 16 to peg back ‘The Machine’ again, before grabbing a seemingly crucial break of throw with a fantastic 88 outshot on the bull.
Wade ensured he kept daylight between them, taking out 72 to break straight back, before a neat 86 finish put him three legs clear at 14-11.
van Gerwen kept himself in it with a 13 darter, bere Wade’s ninth maximum helped to move him within a leg of victory.
The Dutchman held to keep the pressure on but Wade clinched his place in the semi-finals with a brilliant 71 checkout, finishing on double ten.
By Chris Murphy