The Dutchmen Cometh?

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Remarkably, for a tungsten friendly nation such as The Netherlands, the last Dutch winner of the Winmau World Masters was Michael van Gerwen in 2006.

There’s a good chance that may change this year, with four of his compatriots through to the Men’s quarter-finals.

Belgian Open champion Wesley Plaisier has arguably looked the pick of the bunch so far. He accounted for Italy’s Carlo Ros 5-1 in his opening knockout game, producing finishes of 110 and 114 in the process.

He found two more big ton-plus finishes in his next game, this time a 120 and a 170, as he beat Shaun McDonald 5-0 with a 98.88 average.

It was a closer-run thing for Plaisier in the Last 32 though as he took on Chris Landman. In a game that featured five 180s, Plaisier survived a match dart at the bull in the deciding leg before taking out 48 to win 5-4.

Plaisier had no such troubles in his final game of the day, sweeping past Austria’s Christian Goedl 5-1 to set up a quarter-final meeting with compatriot Davy Proosten.

Proosten showed his mettle when it mattered most, producing 11 and 13-dart deciding legs to beat Heine Uuldriks and Andy Baetens respectively. His other two wins were far more straightforward, beating Ricky Nauman 5-2 in his opening knockout game and then sealing his spot in Sunday’s final stages with a 5-1 triumph over Ralph Polderman.

The third Dutchman to qualify for the last eight was Irish Classic semi-finalist Owen Roelofs.Having defeated Vegar Elvevoll in his first game of the day, Roelofs then showed his class in wins over Liam Maendl-Lawrence and Davyd Venken.

Against Maendl-Lawrence he took out 120 to win a last-leg decider, while Venken was on the receiving end of a 100.91 average and three 180s.

His Last 16 win over Alexander Merkx was scrappier but sufficient to book him a quarter-final date with reigning Swedish Open champion Kai Fan Leung.

The Hong Kong ace came from 3-1 down to beat Jason Brandon 5-4 in his first game and from there looked in superb form, recording three successive averages of more than 94 as he beat Raymond Williamson, Ivo Leeksma and Jelle Klaasen.

Klaasen had beaten World Champion Neil Duff in the Last 64 but wasn’t able to replicate the Dutch Open success he had in this building six months ago.

Kay Smeets became the fourth Dutchman to reach the quarter-finals by beating Antony Allen 5-2 in the Last 16. He also saw off Jeffrey Bekema, Alex Bassetti and Jim Widmayer in an impressive run through the knockouts..

Facing Smeets in the last eight will be ‘The Daddy’, Barry Copeland. After surviving match darts in his opening game with Gilbert van der Meijden, the experienced Northern Irishman comfortably saw off the challenges of Leslie Beukes, Daniel Zygla and Europe Cup champion Jacques Labre to record his best-ever run in the World Masters.

The only quarter-final not involving a Dutch player is the top tie in the bracket between Wales captain Nick Kenny and Danny Lauby.

Last-leg victories over Ryuki Morikubo and Richard Veenstra highlighted Kenny’s run, while Lauby, a winner of five ranking events this season, looked comfortable throughout as he beat Jan de Weerdt, Simon Bak, Gary Stone and Martijn Dragt.


Words: WDF

Images: Photo: Jos Groen/NDB (Wesley Plaisier PDC Europe)

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