Dan Fitch is backing Krzysztof Ratajski and Gerwyn Price to make the last four of the World Matchplay, as he previews Thursday's quarter-final clashes...
"Ratajski averaged 99.94 and took his chances with a 42.31% checkout percentage."
PDC World Matchplay
Thursday 22 July, 19:15
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Thursday sees the first of the quarter-final matches at the 2021 PDC World Matchplay.
Gerwyn Price's highly impressive 11-3 demolition job of the Premier League champion Jonny Clayton, has seen the world number one come in to just 3.613/5 to win the tournament. He will face the reigning World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh in the second of Thursday's quarter-finals.
Van den Bergh came through a thrilling match against Dave Chisnall to win 11-8. At the time of writing, the Belgian is the third favourite at 7.06/1 and if he can beat Price, then he looks likely to become the favourite to retain the World Matchplay.
Ratajski can make first major semi
Krzysztof Ratajski 1.4640/85 v Callan Rydz 3.02/1
Start time, 19:15
Before the main event of the night, we have an intriguing clash between two players who few would have tipped to make the semi-finals. One of them now will do and it's Ratajski who's the favourite at 1.4640/85.
A year ago the 'Polish Eagle' reached this stage and lost narrowly to Michael Smith. Since then he's reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship and the UK Open, but is still waiting to make the semi-finals of a major.
This looks like an opportunity to go at least one better and if he plays at the level that he did in his 11-5 win over Luke Humphries, then he surely will do. Ratajski averaged 99.94 and took his chances with a 42.31% checkout percentage. Rydz's finishing was even better as he beat Rob Cross 11-8, recording 78.57% checkout accuracy.
He'll surely need to produce something similar against Ratajski, who can be relied to outscore Rydz. You can back Ratajski to average over 97.5 at 1.834/5, which he has managed in the previous two rounds. With the quarter-finals seeing the players compete over 31 legs, Ratajski with -2.5 on the handicap, could also land at 1.910/11.
Price a worthy favourite against top opposition
Gerwyn Price 1.664/6 v Dimitri van den Bergh 2.3811/8
Start time, 21:15
Price is the strong favourite here and it's not difficult to see why after his performance against Clayton. Averaging 101.11, Price produced a checkout percentage of 68.75%.
If he plays like that again, he'll be very difficult for Van den Bergh to beat. 'The DreamMaker' is scoring as heavily as you'd expect him to, but so far his finishing has not been good enough. He produced the highest average of the tournament so far with 103.68 against Chisnall, but his checkout percentage of 32.35% ensured that it was a hard fought victory.
It will be no surprise if Van den Bergh outscores Price, but unless that checkout percentage comes up - or Price's falls dramatically - then the Welshman is the rightful favourite. It's Price that's got the better of previous encounters, winning eight times to Van den Bergh's three, but they haven't played since March 2020.
If looking for more value for a Price win, then back Van den Bergh to score the most 180s and lose the match at 2.47/5, having hit 14 maximums against Chisnall. Another good bet is for Van den Bergh to average over 98.5 at 1.834/5, having so easily beat that total in his last match.
Dan Fitch World Matchplay P/L
Staked: 20.00 pts
Returned: 20.28 pts
P/L: +0.28 pts