Reigning PDC World Darts champion Michael van Gerwen will play the Scot, Gary Anderson in this year’s semi-finals after both men won their quarter-finals yesterday evening at the Alexandra Palace. Anderson overcame last year’s beaten finalist Peter Wright with a dominant display by five sets to one, seemingly hitting his top form at just the right moment. Ranked four in the PDC tournament he was the better player throughout against Wright, with an impressive match average of 102.12, eleven maximum 180 scores and twenty-five scores of 140-plus. For his part, Wright seemed unable to match the consistency of his fellow Scot, who took the first set 3-1 and then took out 170 and 121 finishes to go two sets up.

Wright halved the arrears by edging the third set but could never quite get on terms with his assured opponent, who rattled through the rest of the required sets to set up a mouthwatering battle with the favourite, van Gerwen in the semi-finals on Saturday. Anderson will be looking to go one better than the runners-up position he achieved in 2011 and also hoping that the pain he has been suffering from an abscess on his tooth does not trouble him further.

Van Gerwen beat rookie PDC quarter-finalist Robert Thornton in the first match on the oche last night, as he continued his aim of winning back to back world titles. Prior to facing ‘Mighty Mike’, Thornton was yet to drop a set in the tournament so expectations were high of a tight tussle between the pair. So it proved, although the final score of 5-2 was slightly harsh on Thornton who pushed the Dutchman for much of the match. It took an astounding three dart average of 105.26 (reaching a peak of over 112 at one point early in the match) across the contest with thirteen 180s to eventually put paid to Thornton’s resilience, despite his rival averaging 101.49 and outscoring the top seed with fourteen maximums himself.

Van Gerwen had battled his way to a seemingly unassailable three sets to nil lead, despite his opponent twice hitting checkouts of over 100 in set two, before Thornton began to gain a tangible reward for his efforts on the scoreboard. An eleven dart leg saw him clinch set four to give some hope to the fans of ‘The Thorn’, although even then he was thankful for van Gerwen’s narrow miss on a 170 finish that would have seen him take the set instead. His chances improved further of making a real game of it when he also took the fifth set as his rival lost form temporarily. The world champion showed his matchplay abilities to take the crucial sixth set on the fifth leg, as Thornton began to feel the pressure, and wrapped the match up in the next set with a stunning 170 checkout. A relieved van Gerwen knows that he can expect an even tougher match in the semis against the consistent Anderson.

The remaining quarter-finals will be played later today, with Phil Taylor due to play Dutchman Vincent van der Voort and a classic encounter is expected when five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld takes on rising star Stephen Bunting. The 29-year-old is a recent convert to the PDC as he moved across soon after winning this year's BDO world title and harbours aspirations of becoming the first player to complete the double of holding both titles at the same time (although he will shortly lose his BDO title as he is not competing in that this year). 
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