Jaymes Monte picks out his best bet from this Sunday night's two semi-final matches...
Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor have played each other on more than 50 occasions in their career and at times it has been one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport. Fierce in the sporting sense that is; these two have always shown each other the utmost respect at the oche.
Over the past four years, however, it has become an immensely one-sided rivalry. The Power has won 21 of the previous 23 meetings, with Barney's only wins coming on consecutive days in Spanish Players Championship events in October of last year, far, far away from any prying television cameras.
To all intents and purposes, this so-called rivalry was a thing of the past, one for the ages. Any time that their paths have crossed in recent years Sky Sports would roll out their footage of "the greatest match of all time" when Barney beat Taylor 7-6 in a sudden death decider to take the 2007 world title at Circus Tavern. But nobody ever truly expected to see a repeat. Not until now that is.
Van Barneveld has been nothing short of majestic this past fortnight, and is rightly being talked about as a potential winner of this title. His tournament average is only marginally short of three figures, more than five points better than Taylor's, but even more significant is the confidence with which Barney is hitting his doubles, regularly pinning the outer ring with his last arrow in hand.
For my money Barney should be shorter than the 2.6413/8 that is being offered, and for that reason I feel that we have to back him.
Not that I want to write off Taylor, he has also looked much better this past fortnight than he has for many a month, and particularly against Andy Hamilton his finishing was as emphatic as we have come to expect from the world number one. But every time I've watched Barney this week I've had a feeling that something special is happening. I'm not getting the same from The Power.