Worlds finalists Anderson and Lewis fall at first Masters hurdle
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 30, 2016
The Masters 2016
- Finals Day
- Sunday, January 31st
- Sessions from: 13:00-17:00 and 19:00-23:00
- Arena:MK, Milton Keynes
- Live on ITV4
Van Gerwen set to defend crown
All three former Masters champions remain in this year’s edition – Phil Taylor (5/1 tournament shout with Coral), James Wade (11/1) and title holder Michael van Gerwen (8/11 favourite) – and feature in the quarter-finals on the second and last day.
However, there were high profile exits as 2016 PDC World Darts Championship finalists Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis succumbed to Vincent van der Voort and Kim Huybrechts respectively, while Raymond van Barneveld was also eliminated early.
Read on for our preview of Finals Day at the Arena:MK in the first major event of the season (not in order of play)…
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
This duo were destined to meet at this stage at the Ally Pally, but instead both were steamrolled over by the darting colossus that is Van Barneveld.
However, on this occasion, Smith (5/1 for victory) was able to hold off Barney in the opening round, much to Mighty Mike’s (odds-on at 1/8) relief too, to set up this tussle between the sport’s two best young-guns.
Title holder Van Gerwen boats a superior 12-4 head-to-head record over Bully Boy and looked highly impressive in his 10-1 demolition of Stephen Bunting at the first hurdle. Back the Dutch world number one at 15/8 to be King of the Oche (player to win match, get most 180s and highest checkout).
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
In another crunch clash of the quarters, inaugural Masters champion Taylor takes on major trophy-chasing Wright, after getting revenge on Jelle Klaasen, who knocked the all-time great out of the Worlds.
After winning convincingly 10-6, The Power (4/7) will fancy his chances against Snakebite (11/8), who he’s beaten 15 times from their 22 total official meetings.
Two of those defeats, though, came in their last three battles, and so this should be a close encounter. Odds of 4/5 say it will go to over 16.5 legs.
Kim Huybrechts v James Wade
The second half of the draw is certainly far more open, as any one of 2014 Masters victor Wade, Huybrechts, Van der Voort and Chisnall will fancy their chances of reaching the final.
Belgian Huybrechts caused one of the shocks of the first round by overcoming World Championship runner-up Lewis, and so is 11/8 to upset another multiple major winner in Wade (4/7 favourite).
The Hurricane may have been swept away by The Machine in seven of their last eight duels, but was successful in their most recent meeting at the European Darts Grand Prix semis in October on his way to lifting the title.
Vincent van der Voort v Dave Chisnall
Lastly, crowd favourites Van der Voort (7/4) and Chisnall (4/9) collide as they bid to reach the semi-finals here for the first time.
Chizzy leads The Dutch Destroyer 3-2 from past meetings, and crucially has won each of the last three. He is, therefore, fancied to make it third time lucky, having exited at this stage the last two Masters events.
It must be noted that this pair produced incredible first round displays; VdV knocked out world champion Anderson, while Chizzy came back from 8-0 down to somehow beat Robert Thornton.
Coral’s top tip: Huybrechts will be in confident mood after knocking out world champion Anderson of the first round, and so is a tempting 11/8 shout to beat Wade too.