As far as Players Championship Finals go, this has been an extremely entertaining tournament. Past editions of this event have had the feeling of it being an unwanted nuisance in the build up to the World Championships. But, partly down to the new venue and partly down to the invigoration that Phil Taylor's blip has catalysed, this has been a hugely engaging tournament.
As I mentioned in my outright preview the top half of the draw was always going to be a wide-open affair and offer one player a real opportunity. Once Dave Chisnall and James Wade went out in the first round, the door swung wide open for a number of players. Kim Huybrechts and Justin Pipe have grasped that opportunity, and for one a maiden Major final awaits.
Two players who have enjoyed respective meteoric rises through the rankings over the past 24 months and each are fully deserving of their place in the final four this weekend. They've played each other three times in the past, all three in floor tournaments, with Pipe winning the first two but Huybrechts the most recent; nothing much to be garnered from those statistics.
The Belgian was the most impressive of the two in their quarter-final wins, averaging 104.34 in his 10-6 victory over Peter Wright. But I think it would be fair to say that Pipe claimed the more notable scalp in defeating an in-form Mervyn King.
Much is made of Pipe's speed of play, but over a shorter format that doesn't tend to matter too much. Now we're into a best-of-21-legs match it does, I believe, become a much bigger factor.
Huybrechts plays his best darts when he can get into a steady rhythm, and all his opponents to this point - Wright, Michael Smith, Vincent van der Voort - have been quick or at least steady-paced players that have allowed him to flow. This evening's match will be entirely different.
For that reason, and at odds of 2.47/5, I'm willing to take a chance on the Englishman reaching his first ever Major final. It would be fitting for it to come in the Players Championship Finals, having been so emphatic on the floor last season.
Back Pipe to beat Huybrechts @ 2.47/5