Gary Anderson began the defence of his Dubai Masters title, by blowing away sixteen times world champion Phil Taylor in the desert winning 10-3. In a unique darts arena in Dubai, the players play outside, with a covered stage. This had it’s own problems last night as all the players complained of a breeze, but were forced to get on with the action. Anderson racked up a 104 average as Taylor failed to get anywhere near that level, in what is his farewell season on the PDC tour. Taylor has won everything there is to win in the darting world, but somewhat surprisingly the great man has never won the Dubai crown. Anderson will now play Peter Wright in the semi-finals.
“We all want to win, we’re all after the title, and you just have to beat everyone,” said Anderson. “It’s always nice to get past the first round, and Peter will be tough to beat.
“I’ll do my best and try and win here again, but it’s never easy these days, let’s see what happens.”
Wright had already booked his place in the semifinal, with a 10-5 victory Dave Chisnall. Chizzy had recently been named to play for England in the upcoming World Cup of Darts, but never tested the world number three in this game. Wright very much had the game how he wanted it, as Chisnall struggled to find his power scoring when he really needed it. Wright was runner-up here in Dubai in 2014, and is hoping to go one better here this year.
“I believe I’ve just beaten the best player in terms of form in the tournament but I know I still need more. I just want to hit loads of 180’s and play better. I was ok today, but tomorrow I will be better.” Wright told the media after.
World number one and world champion Michael van Gerwen is looking to win here in Dubai for the fourth time, and started his quest against fellow Dutch teammate Raymond van Barneveld. The match swung on one pivotal moment, when RvB missed double five at the end of a combination to break the MvG throw. Barney paid with a dagger through the heart as MvG checked out 150, and never looked back after that. The great young Dutchman would kick on from there racking up a 10-5 victory.
“I’m not playing perfectly, but I am getting closer, I want to win this tournament,”
“Gerwyn made the final of the UK Open this year and deserves to be here. My experience will make a difference but he is a good player, and I will have to play well.”
The closest game of the night game in the opening game of the evening, when World Series debutant Gerwyn Price edge out James Wade in a final leg thriller. Wade had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as the Machine threatened the nine-darter narrowly missing double 12 for the roof-raiser. In truth, Wade will feel this is a match that slipped through his fingers, as at 9-7 in front should have seen out the game. From the edge of defeat, Price showed how far his game has come and that he is now a force in the top 16 in the world.
“I think I’ve worked hard this year and have earned my place,” said Price. “I was over-thinking things at the start of the match so had to keep my cool and realise it was just one break.
“I knew I had the game in me to win and I’ve proved that again tonight.”
Gerwyn Price 10-9 James Wade
Peter Wright 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 10-3 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright