2024 begins with the quarter finals of the PDC World Darts Championship taking place inside the Alexandra Palace in London on New Year’s Day with the first two of them being played out in the afternoon session on Monday.
Four players will battle it out for the right to meet each other in the semi-final on Tuesday. There is a small matter of £100,000 guaranteed for the winner of these two quarter finals as well so things are suddenly getting very serious.
Chris Dobey vs Rob Cross
The opening quarter final of the tournament sees The Masters champion Chris Dobey going up against a man who has the confidence of knowing he is the only player left in the top half of the draw who has been the course and distance of this event in Rob Cross.
Dobey has been brilliant in the tournament so far and the emergence and profile that Luke Littler has been getting might well have helped him because he has gone a little under the radar even though he took out the defending champion Michael Smith in the previous round. It took a little longer for Rob Cross to produce the eye catching result we wanted to see from him but it came along against Jonny Clayton in the previous round where he won 4-0 in next to no time. He averaged a shade over 98 in that match and will need every bit of that again here if he is going to win. Dobey never showed up in the quarter final last year and will be keen to put that disappointment behind him. He has won the last four meetings against Cross and I’m not surprised by that because his scoring is just more sustained. The one area Cross is beating Dobey in over the tournament so far is checkout percentage but Dobey was excellent on the doubles against Smith and I sense it is his time. I certainly don’t expect a runaway win here but I do think that Dobey has the Cross number and will come through this one.
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Luke Littler vs Brendan Dolan
It is the second quarter final of the afternoon which will draw the majority of the attention as the 16-year-old superstar in waiting will be back on the stage looking to make the semi-final of the tournament at the first attempt. The veteran Brendan Dolan will be the man looking to end the fairy-tale story.
Littler has been excellent in the tournament so far and you would think that this quarter final will be in his hands. That isn’t meant to be disrespectful to Dolan, who merits plenty of respect after good wins over Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson in the last two rounds, but the simple fact is that if Littler scores like he has been so far in this tournament he will have too much scoring power for the Northern Irishman. That is highlighted by a 99.73 tournament average to 94.94 and a 180s per leg advantage of 0.41 to 0.10, which basically means in every 10 legs Littler will average four 180s to the one of Dolan. One area where you would think Dolan might get some joy is on the doubles but his advantage in the tournament so far has only been 43.30% to 42.99% so it is minimal. Therefore you have to think that unless Littler is hampered by nerves he is going to win this. Even with some nerves I think he wins this, any issues like that might just keep it closer than it could be. I wouldn’t put anyone off a 2.5 set handicap for the youngster here but the odds and everything look about right in this one to me.
Back C.Dobey to beat R.Cross for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
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