Raymond van Barneveld vs Alan Norris
Barney slipped down the rankings earlier in the year and seems to be on the up again. He has been in pretty decent form over the last couple of months and could do with a good run in this competition with his Premier League place on the line. Barney made a tough first round opponent in the form of Robbie Green look quite easy and looks to be a real contender this year. Norris on the other hand, since making the switch to the PDC in 2015, has climbed up 21st in the world. He can be a terrific scorer but his achilles heel is his finishing. Barney averaged around 99 in his first round match whereas Norris could only manage 92. There will be plenty of 180s in this match and If Barney gets in front earlier then Norris is in big trouble.
Phil Taylor vs Kevin Painter
This rivalry has been going on for sometime and never fails to bring drama. Painter has only ever beaten Taylor once and that was in 2001. He came so close in the World Championship Final in 2004 where he lost out on a sudden death leg. Everyone knows how good Taylor is but for Painter it’s a bit of a different story. He has slipped down the rankings and so we rarely see him qualifying for the big televised major events. Taylor is always a danger for any opponent and while he averaged 102 in his first match, Painter averaged 85. That’s a massive difference in averages and I feel this could be a whitewash.
Michael van Gerwen vs Cristo Reyes
Michael van Gerwen is the obvious favourite to lift the trophy this year as he is for nearly every completion he enters! He has won 25 tournaments this year and so the question that remains is who is going to stop him? Unfortunately I don’t seen Cristo Reyes stopping him. Although Reyes averaged around 96 in his first round match, he only just scraped through against Dimitri Van den Berg. The last time these two met on television, MVG won it 10-3 in legs and this could once again be another one sided contest. The ‘Green Machine’ will easily outscore Reyes and in order for Reyes to do well, he needs to start on the front foot and not get too far behind early doors other it could be a whitewash. The longer Reyes can keep it a close game, the more he will feel he has a chance and then who knows what could happen as anything is possible in the World Championships!
Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Norris
Taylor 4-0 Painter
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Cristo Reyes