Van Gerwen & Van Barneveld to collide in Den Bosch

Michael van Gerwen (Kelly Deckers/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld will renew their rivalry in the quarter-finals of the TOTO Dutch Darts Masters on Saturday evening.

The two greatest Dutch dart players in history will go head-to-head at De Maaspoort in Den Bosch, after winning their first round games on a thrilling opening night on Friday.

Dutch number one Van Gerwen ran out a comprehensive 6-1 winner against his close friend Vincent van der Voort in Friday’s finale, averaging 94 and landing three 180s to progress.

“Anyone who comes on my path I have to beat,” declared Van Gerwen, who is eyeing his 16th World Series of Darts title on Saturday.

“Playing against my best friend is always hard. Vincent has been so good to me throughout my career. 

“We’ve had some really good times together, some really bad times together, but this unfortunately happens in darts, and the most important thing is that I won the game.”

Van Gerwen produced a series of classy displays to reach the final of last week’s Bahrain Darts Masters, and the 34-year-old is now aiming to go one better in front of his home crowd.

“It’s all about momentum and sometimes you have to block things out,” added the three-time World Champion. 

“It wasn’t a fantastic performance but I did the right things at the right moments. 

“I think Raymond was a little bit fortunate [to win his game], so I need to make sure I am there tomorrow, because I am quite sure he is going to play well.”

Van Barneveld, meanwhile, produced a clinical display to edge out 2018 World Champion Rob Cross in a dramatic last-leg shoot-out, surviving two match darts in the process.

The 56-year-old recovered from a sluggish start to seal his first televised victory over a profligate Cross, pinning six of his eight attempts at double to set up a fascinating showdown against his compatriot.

“Rob missed crucial doubles, but I kept believing in myself and I think the crowd helped me,” admitted Van Barneveld, who wrapped up victory with a 13-darter in the decider.

“At the end of the day you just have to win six legs; it doesn't matter how.”

The five-time World Champion was roared on by a partisan crowd at De Maaspoort, and he’s already dreaming of a return to home soil at the World Series of Darts Finals in September.

“Playing in front of your home crowd is what you dream of. It’s the best feeling ever,” insisted the Dutch veteran.

“We don't have many events in Holland now, but the venue looks fantastic and it was sold out so quickly, so you cannot ask for more.

“This is a really important tournament for me, because I want to qualify for the World Series Finals in Amsterdam later this year.

“I know if I have a good run, I’m automatically qualified for that, so I’m hoping for a good result here.”

There will be Dutch representation in Saturday’s final, as the winner of Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld’s clash will play either Gian van Veen or Danny Noppert in the last four.

World Youth Championship runner-up Van Veen enjoyed a dream World Series debut on Friday, winning five of the last six legs against 2023 World Champion Michael Smith to celebrate a 6-3 success.

Noppert also ran out a convincing winner in his tie against World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall, averaging almost 96 and crashing in four maximums to wrap up a 6-2 victory.

Saturday January 27 (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Luke Littler v Luke Humphries
Gerwyn Price v Kevin Doets
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Gian van Veen v Danny Noppert
Best of 11 legs

Littler/Humphries v Price/Doets
Van Gerwen/Van Barneveld v Van Veen/Noppert
Best of 13 legs

Littler/Humphries/Price/Doets v Van Gerwen/Van Barneveld/Van Veen/Noppert
Best of 15 legs