MVG stays on course at Winter Gardens; Asp and Smith win epics

Raz Mirza

Interviews, Comment & Analysis @RazMirza

Michael van Gerwen proves too good for Ian White, while Nathan Aspinall wins a classic against former champion Gary Anderson; Michael Smith claims extra-time thriller against Jose de Sousa to set up a meeting with Peter Wright after the Scot beats Joe Cullen in emphatic fashion

Last Updated: 21/07/21 11:48pm

Michael van Gerwen finished off Ian White's hopes to set up a quarter-final clash against Nathan Aspinall at the World Matchplay

Michael van Gerwen finished off Ian White’s hopes to set up a quarter-final clash against Nathan Aspinall at the World Matchplay

Michael van Gerwen stayed on course for his third World Matchplay and first PDC title of 2021 after defeating Ian White to set up a tantalising quarter-final clash against Nathan Aspinall.

The Dutchman will face Aspinall, who got the better of Blackpool favourite Gary Anderson in a match which included two monster checkouts in a blizzard of blistering arrows.

Michael Smith edged out Jose de Sousa in an overtime thriller at the Winter Gardens to set up a quarter-final date with Peter Wright after the Scot stormed past Joe Cullen in a relentless display.

The best of the action from Day Five of the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool

Sky Sports 0:56
The best of the action from Day Five of the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool

The best of the action from Day Five of the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool

Second Round of the World Matchplay

Michael Smith 13-11 Jose de Sousa
Gary Anderson 9-11 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 11-8 Ian White
Peter Wright 11-5 Joe Cullen

MVG shows glimpses of best form in White win

Van Gerwen says there is 'more in the tank' after making hard work in beating White on a steamy hot night in Blackpool

Sky Sports 1:58
Van Gerwen says there is ‘more in the tank’ after making hard work in beating White on a steamy hot night in Blackpool

Van Gerwen says there is ‘more in the tank’ after making hard work in beating White on a steamy hot night in Blackpool

Van Gerwen scooped the World Matchplay titles in 2015 and 2016, and he has set his sights on claiming the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy for a third time.

After suffering a first-round wobble in defeating Damon Heta, the deadly Dutchman was aiming to return to the kind of ruthless form which saw him rule planet darts. But White, who won through to the last 16 for the eighth time at the Matchplay after outlasting Daryl Gurney, showed he was not about to roll over as he took a 3-2 lead.

White sunk this 108 to halt Van Gerwen's victory charge

Sky Sports 0:19
White sunk this 108 to halt Van Gerwen’s victory charge

White sunk this 108 to halt Van Gerwen’s victory charge

The world No 3, who has yet to win a PDC event in 2021, broke White’s resistance in the ninth leg, but Diamond hit back immediately with double 10 to make it 5-5.

Van Gerwen came out after the mini-interval with a neat 84 two-dart combination before holding for 7-5 in 13 darts. The Green Machine maintained his two-leg cushion, before punishing his opponent with a superb 92 checkout for 9-6.

Van Gerwen defeated White with this outrageous 121 checkout on the bullseye

Sky Sports 0:54
Van Gerwen defeated White with this outrageous 121 checkout on the bullseye

Van Gerwen defeated White with this outrageous 121 checkout on the bullseye

Mighty Mike cleaned up 93 to move one leg away from victory, but White kept his hopes alive with a neat 108 finish and double 5 after the Dutchman spurned match darts. Van Gerwen eventually sealed an 11-8 win with a show-stopping 121 on the bullseye.

Aspinall wins Anderson classic

Aspinall called the opening two mini-intervals against Anderson 'pants' but he held his bottle in the end to reach the quarter-finals

Sky Sports 2:18
Aspinall called the opening two mini-intervals against Anderson ‘pants’ but he held his bottle in the end to reach the quarter-finals

Aspinall called the opening two mini-intervals against Anderson ‘pants’ but he held his bottle in the end to reach the quarter-finals

Anderson and Aspinall had a tendency to go deep when they faced each other with The Asp also enjoying a winning record over the Scot.

Anderson, the 2018 champion, made a disastrous start falling 3-0 down, but he slowly wrestled back control to win the next four on the spin. However, a maximum followed by 79 in two darts helped Aspinall spark back into life and he quickly restored his lead at 6-4 in a cracking contest on another balmy night in Blackpool.

In typical Anderson fashion, the Scot landed this 149 finish to the delight of the Winter Gardens

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In typical Anderson fashion, the Scot landed this 149 finish to the delight of the Winter Gardens

In typical Anderson fashion, the Scot landed this 149 finish to the delight of the Winter Gardens

Aspinall, who tasted victory in the tournament for the first time against veteran Mervyn King, maintained his two-leg buffer at 8-6, until The Flying Scotsman nailed double 10 to hit back.

The former UK Open champion pinned double nine for an immediate break, but Anderson cleaned up a stunning 149 in vintage fashion. Aspinall responded with a fabulous 117 checkout before missing bullseye for the match.

Aspinall pinned this crucial 117 checkout against Anderson

Sky Sports 0:30
Aspinall pinned this crucial 117 checkout against Anderson

Aspinall pinned this crucial 117 checkout against Anderson

But the 30-year-old from Stockport returned to take out 96 in two darts to complete a sensational 11-9 win.

Live World Matchplay Darts

July 22, 2021, 7:00pm

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Quarter-finals of the World Matchplay

Krzysztof Ratajski vs Callan Rydz
Gerwyn Price vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

Smith edges De Sousa in overtime thriller

Smith said he was written off before the tournament but has proved he 'can grind matches out' after defeating De Sousa in an epic

Sky Sports 2:05
Smith said he was written off before the tournament but has proved he ‘can grind matches out’ after defeating De Sousa in an epic

Smith said he was written off before the tournament but has proved he ‘can grind matches out’ after defeating De Sousa in an epic

Grand Slam of Darts winner and Premier League finalist De Sousa came into this clash having edged Smith in a scrappy deciding leg at the UK Open in March.

Smith, the 2019 runner-up, was out for revenge. Both players pummelled the red lipstick from the off but Bully Boy found himself 2-0 down. He fought back, though, to win the next five legs on the spin with a cool 99 average.

De Sousa took out this 80 with an audacious two double tops!

Sky Sports 0:15
De Sousa took out this 80 with an audacious two double tops!

De Sousa took out this 80 with an audacious two double tops!

The 47-year-old Portuguese ace joined the party after cleaning up 80 to stop the rot and he then broke back thanks to an 82 checkout. He levelled at 5-5 by pinning double top for his second 11-dart leg of an enthralling contest.

The Special One converted a stunning 80 finish with two tops to regain the upper hand and then held for an 8-6 lead after mopping up double one. De Sousa held the advantage as he moved to within a leg of a spot in the last eight, but the St Helens thrower broke back for 10-10 after sinking 71 in two darts.

A 108 checkout enabled Smith to stay in the contest against De Sousa

Sky Sports 0:21
A 108 checkout enabled Smith to stay in the contest against De Sousa

A 108 checkout enabled Smith to stay in the contest against De Sousa

With the match effectively in overtime, it had to be won by two clear legs with a maximum of five additional legs before the sixth additional leg, which is sudden-death. A 15-dart break put De Sousa within touching distance once again, but after missing one match dart, Smith made him pay with a majestic 108 finish to make it 11-11.

Bully Boy missed tops for the match, but after the missed darts at doubles, he returned to land double 10 for a stunning 13-11 success.

“It’s like Gladiator. Are you not entertained?”

Michael Smith

Snakey sends out Matchplay warning to rivals

Wright said his game improved after changing his flights and stems during his emphatic win over Cullen

Sky Sports 2:22
Wright said his game improved after changing his flights and stems during his emphatic win over Cullen

Wright said his game improved after changing his flights and stems during his emphatic win over Cullen

World No 2 Wright took on 2018 quarter-finalist Cullen in buoyant mood and after surging into a 3-0 lead, including a 106 finish, he looked like running away with it.

Cullen, though, showed the form which has earned him two ProTour titles in 2021 to take the next two legs despite not quite firing on all cylinders.

Snakebite broke Cullen with this outstanding 106 checkout

Sky Sports 0:17
Snakebite broke Cullen with this outstanding 106 checkout

Snakebite broke Cullen with this outstanding 106 checkout

The 32-year-old from Yorkshire recovered to level, but Wright, who changed his stems and flights at the mini-interval, nailed a 103 checkout as he proceeded to win the next four legs for a 7-3 lead.

Wright seemed happy with his new set-up as he pinned double 16 for the sixth time in the match to close in on victory.

The Scot then landed this 103 checkout as he put Cullen to the sword

Sky Sports 0:17
The Scot then landed this 103 checkout as he put Cullen to the sword

The Scot then landed this 103 checkout as he put Cullen to the sword

Snakebite soon completed an 11-5 win with a 105.87 three-dart average to stay on course for his maiden Matchplay title.

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens with live coverage of the World Matchplay from the iconic Winter Gardens running all the way through until Sunday, July 25. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts

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