Glen Durrant’s dream World Matchplay debut continued as he thrashed 2007 champion James Wade 16-7 to set up a semi-final showdown against Michael Smith at the Winter Gardens.
Having dumped out Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen to reach the last eight, Durrant added the scalp of nine-time major winner Wade to the list, winning 13 of the last 16 legs on Thursday night to ensure that there will be a new name on the World Matchplay trophy in 2019.
Wade was the only former champion left in the field, but he was swept aside with relative ease by ‘Duzza’. However, it does not get any easier for the Teessider as he takes on fifth seed Michael Smith on Saturday night for a place in Sunday’s final.
World Championship finalist Smith continued his bid for a first major PDC title after seeing off Mervyn King in a hard-fought battle, as ‘The King’ was denied a second World Matchplay semi – a decade after reaching his first.
Glen Durrant 16-7 James Wade
Durrant has now beaten three of the most decorated major champions in the PDC to reach the semi-finals on debut at the Winter Gardens.
Durrant did not repeat the fireworks that saw him edge out Van Gerwen in a breathtaking tie-break tussle, although he was always in control against an off-colour Wade, who averaged just 85 in an erratic display.
‘The Machine’ survived match darts to triumph over Jeffrey de Zwaan in round one before recovering from 8-5 and 11-10 down to defeat last year’s finalist Mensur Suljovic, but he was comprehensively beaten by the Blackpool debutant.
Both players made a tentative start to proceedings as the opening four legs were shared, before Wade sank nerveless 101 and 114 combinations to lead 4-3, after Durrant had twice failed to capitalise on break opportunities.
The three-time Lakeside champion then began to find his range and won four consecutive legs to seize the initiative at 7-4, converting fine 91 and 107 checkouts in the process.
‘The Machine’ is usually the epitome of consistency but he was plagued by a number of wayward darts and Durrant was monopolising the scoring stakes, although Wade did close out just his third hold of throw to cut the gap to 9-6 at the third interval.
‘Duzza’ restored his four-leg advantage with a clinical 77 kill on tops and the former BDO man secured a clean sweep in the session to continue the procession, as Wade became increasingly frustrated with his lacklustre performance.
Wade finally stopped the rot after wrapping up a scrappy leg on double nine but his reprieve was short-lived. Durrant extinguished any hopes of a Wade revival with a clinical 100 kill, before producing a dazzling 137 finish on tops to wrap up the win.
Michael Smith 16-11 Mervyn King
Smith secured a spot in his first World Matchplay semi-final with a hard-fought 16-11 victory over 2009 semi-finalist King.
King had dumped out UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall and defending champion Gary Anderson to reach the last eight, but he spurned 28 darts at double in the searing heat at the Winter Gardens on Thursday.
Smith made a blistering start in an opening session littered with quality. ‘Bully Boy’ produced finishes of 137 and 90 to kick off with legs of 12 and 11 darts, only for King to open his account with a majestic 140 checkout.
The St Helens star was averaging in excess of 112 as he extended his lead to 5-1, although King rallied after Smith missed two darts for a 6-1 lead, reeling off three legs on the spin to reduce the deficit to 5-4.
Smith regained his cushion to move 7-4 ahead but the momentum continued to shift, with King producing clinical combination finishes of 92, 74 and 86 to win four on the spin and establish a slender 8-7 advantage.
Nevertheless, the 53-year-old wasn’t ahead for long as Smith responded with sublime 11 and 12-dart legs and that buffer was increased to 12-10 following five successive holds of throw.
An astonishing 23rd leg saw the pair miss 22 darts at double between them as King eventually cut the gap to the solitary leg, although the veteran began to wilt in the sweltering conditions and Smith capitalised.