Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic: World Matchplay 2018 Final preview - Flying Scotsman and Gentle collide for Winter Gardens glory

Anderson and Suljovic go head-to-head (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson aims to secure an elusive first World Matchplay title at the expense of Mensur Suljovic when the pair face off in the final at the Winter Gardens on Sunday.

Two players entering uncharted territory on the Blackpool stage go head-to-head for the right to become the new name on the Phil Taylor trophy and scoop the £115,000 top prize.

Anderson was immediately installed as the tournament favourite following the opening night exit of Michael van Gerwen and has stepped up the mark in supreme style to move within touching distance of a maiden Matchplay crown.

The decorated Scot is looking to add this iconic trophy to complete a career 'Triple Crown', having claimed two world titles and two Premier League titles and would become the first Scotsman to triumph at the Winter Gardens in the process.

It has not all been plain sailing for Anderson so far, however, having been forced to battle back from 5-3 down against Stephen Bunting in Round One and 5-1 down against Raymond van Barneveld in the Last 16 before coming through an epic tie break against Joe Cullen in the Quarter-Finals.

Anderson landed a roof-raising nine-darter in the fourth leg to scoop a £45,000 bonus but went on to survive two missed match darts from Cullen before eventually edging through 19-17 in a Matchplay classic.

He then ended the sensational debut run of Jeffrey de Zwaan with a 17-12 success on Saturday, recording his highest ever BetVictor World Matchplay (106.06) and landing sixteen 180s in the process.

Suljovic, meanwhile, is through to only his second major ranking final, following on from the 2016 European Championship, after producing a series of granite displays in Blackpool this week.

The Austrian ace is aiming to replicate his win over Anderson in last September's Champions League of Darts final which led him to his first televised title.

Suljovic, who made his Premier League debut this year as well claiming the German Masters and Danish Open titles, began his charge in Blackpool with a 10-6 defeat of Steve Beaton.

He then averaged 97.2 in an 11-8 win over Ian White before dispatching Darren Webster 16-10 with a 98 average and battling past Peter Wright 17-13 in the Semi-Finals.

The 46-year-old trails Anderson somewhat in terms of tournament average and total 180s and will require a marked improvement on Saturday's Semi-Final showing if he is to deny the Scot glory.

Their eight previous meetings have been split four apiece, with Anderson having avenged his Champions League final defeat with a 16-12 triumph in the Quarter-Finals of the Grand Slam before edging a 7-5 victory in the Premier League.

The final gets underway from 7pm BST and will be contested over the best of 35 legs.

If the score reaches 17-17, the match will proceed for a maximum of five additional legs before a sudden death leg is required.


Player's View:


Anderson: "I love Mensur to bits and he's a gentleman, but I hate playing him!"

"I'm just going to get on with it. I think we will see a different Mensur tomorrow - I've got a different head on than when I used to play him so we'll see what happens.

"I could retire tomorrow and I'm over the moon with what I've done.

"I don't need to prove anything to anybody, especially to myself."

Suljovic: "I've reached my goal but I will give 100 per cent.

"In the final I hope I can give it my best but winning is good and losing is good."



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Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic: World Matchplay 2018 Final preview - Flying Scotsman and Gentle collide for Winter Gardens glory

Gary Anderson aims to secure an elusive first World Matchplay title at the expense of Mensur Suljovic when the pair face off in the final at the Winter Gardens on Sunday.

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