Sunday the final of the World Matchplay will be played in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. Former World Matchplay champion Gary Anderson takes on Dimitri van den Bergh, who can write history.
The World Matchplay 2020 final will be the second major final behind closed doors. At the UK Open 2018 there was also no crowd due to severe snowfall. There are striking similarities between these two finals as Weekly Dartscast has pointed out.
Beforehand many people would have thought Gary Anderson might be able to reach the final. The Scotsman won his first two matches quite easily without really impressing. Justin Pipe and James Wade were beaten 10-5 and 11-8 respectively. In the semi final Anderson met Simon Whitlock, who had beaten Michael van Gerwen convincingly a round earlier. Whitlock couldn’t reach the top level he had done against the Dutch man. Therefore Anderson, who some his qualities by times, won 16-12. In the semi final he played against his former student Michael Smith and in a match which changed sides several time Anderson took the 18-16 win. The highest match average so far for Gary Anderson is 98,09 in his quarter final, while his average of 97,99 in the semi final is a good second.
Dimitri van den Bergh made his debut at the World Matchplay and, despite he is performing quite well at stage just a few people would have given him a real chance. The Dream Maker started with an impressive 10-5 victory against the number six seed Nathan Aspinall, who was regarded as one of the outsiders for the trophy initially. Since Gerwyn Price and Ian White also lost their first round match the quarter of the draw of the Belgian was quite open with Adrian Lewis, Danny Noppert and Joe Cullen battling it out for a spot in the semi finals. After a tough 11-9 win against Joe Cullen, while both players didn’t play at their best, Van den Bergh reached the quarter finals. Van den Bergh won impressively 16-12 against two times world champion Adrian Lewis, who at times showed what he is capable of. In the semi final the Dream Maker went on fullfilling his dream by beating three times world champion Glen Durrant 18-16 preventing a successfull comeback by the man from Middlesbrough. Dimitri van den Bergh has hit his highest match average in his quarter finals against Adrian Lewis averaging 99,67. The Belgian however only averaged below 98 in his second round.
Gary Anderson and Dimitri van den Bergh has played each other twice. Dimitri van den Bergh won 8-7 in the semi finals of the PDC German Darts Masters 2018, which was part of the World Series. A crucial moment of this match is shared by Chris Hammer. Gary Anderson won the last meeting 5-1 during the group stage of the PDC Home Tour.
While Gary Anderson has won several big trophies, as for example the PDC World Championship twice, the World Matchplay and the Premier League twice, Dimitri van den Bergh has won considerably less.
The Belgian is, however, only 26 years of age and has a great future looming. Dimitri has won the PDC World Championship twice and collected a total of 11 PDC Development Tour wins and therefore is certainly one of the top players from his generation. In 2019 he reached twice a final of the Players Championship at event 4 and 21.
In 2018 he made it to the semi finals of the PDC World Cup together with Kim Huybrechts. Furthermore, he reached the quarter finals of the PDC World Championship 2018 and 2020, Grand Slam of Darts 2018, UK Open 2020 and World Series of Darts Finals 2017.
Dimitri van den Bergh is after Kim and Ronny Huybrechts only the third Belgian darts player to reach a PDC televised final in the history of darts. The Huybrechts brothers lost the final of the PDC World Cup of Darts 2013, while the Hurricane had reached, and lost, the final of the Players Championship Finals 2012 as well. Therefore The Dream Maker might become the first Belgian to win a major event.
Van den Bergh is after James Wade in 2006, Wayne Mardle in 2003 and Ronnie Baxter in 1998 only the fourth debutant to reach the final, if we exlude Larry Butler and Dennis Priestley who made it to the final of the inaugural World Matchplay 1994 in which every player made his debut. Wade, Mardle and Baxter all lost the final, which means Van den Bergh might be the first World Matchplay debutant to claim the trophy.
In the 27th World Matchplay is only the seventh unseeded player to reach the Final. Back in 2006 James Wade was the last one who did so. Only Larry Butler in 1994 and Peter Evison in 1996 were able to win the trophy. This list is provided by Richard Ashdown.