World Matchplay Darts Round Up and Second Round Preview
This week is one of the biggest of the season for PDC Professionals as the 32 qualifiers convene at the Empress Ballrooms, Winter Gardens in Blackpool to battle it out for the title of World Matchplay Champion 2019. Last year, it was Gary Anderson who claimed the title and the top prize for the first time in his career and the Scotsman is back this time around to try and defend the title he won in style last July.
However, he faces stiff competition from a number of players that are all hoping to land the top prize. This includes of course, the current World Number 1 Michael van Gerwen, who Anderson could meet in the semifinals of the tournament, as well as the second and third seeds Rob Cross and Daryl Gurney, along with sixth seed Peter Wright who have all been drawn in the bottom half of the draw.
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The action began with the first selection of First Round games on Saturday, with another group of games played on Sunday and there are just four more First Round matches to be played on Monday evening to conclude the opening phase of the tournament. So, if you fancy a flutter, head to bet365 Sport now for the latest pre-match betting on all games in the tournament. If you are not yet a member, then sign up with the current bet365 Sport New Player Bonus to get a good deal when you join and some bonuses when you start betting on site.
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Let’s now take a look at the results from the First Round that have already been decided following the matches that were played on Saturday and Sunday at the Winter Gardens.
First Round Results/Draw
- Michael van Gerwen (1) 10-6 Steve Beaton
- Adrian Lewis (16) 4-10 Glen Durrant
- James Wade (8) 13-12 Jeffrey de Zwaan
- Mensur Suljovic (9) 10-1 Jermaine Wattimena
- Michael Smith (5) 10-7 Jamie Hughes
- Dave Chisnall (12) 9-11 Max Hopp
- Gary Anderson (4) 10-6 Danny Noppert
- Nathan Aspinall (13) 5-10 Mervyn King
- Rob Cross (2) 10-3 Chris Dobey
- Darren Webster (15) 5-10 Krzystof Ratajaski
- Gerwyn Price (7) 12-13 Stephen Bunting
- Ian White (10) 10-0 Joe Cullen
There have already been a number of surprise results including Glen Durrant beating Adrian Lewis, Max Hopp getting the bteter of Dave Chisnall and Polish star Krzystof Ratajski earning a good win over Darren Webster.
Two games went the maximum 15 legs, with James Wade just holding his nerve to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan on Saturday and then on Sunday, Stephen Bunting saw off seventh seed Gerwyn Price in a fantastic clash. In contrast, the match after saw Ian White smash Joe Cullen 10-0 to make the most impressive progress into the second round of the tournament thus far.
The four remaining First Round games will be played later today and are as follows:
Matches to be played later today (7pm Start)
- Jonny Clayton (14) v Keegan Brown
- Simon Whitlock (11) v John Henderson
- Daryl Gurney (3) v Ricky Evans
- Peter Wright (6) v Vincent van der Voort
Once these final four games have been played on Monday night, the second round will begin on Tuesday. This will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by the quarterfinals on Thursday and the semifinals on Friday leading to the first to 18 legs final on Saturday.
The draw for the second round is seed-based which means it is possible to plot a players potential route to the final and as such, we already know the line up for the matches in the second round in most cases.
Second Round Draw
- Michael van Gerwen v Glen Durrant
- James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
- Michael Smith v Max Hopp
- Gary Anderson v Mervyn King
- Rob Cross v Krzystztof Ratajski
- Stephen Bunting v Ian White
- Wright/Van der Voort v Whitlock/Henderson
- Gurney/Evans v Clayton/Brown
Who will progress from each half of the draw into the final?
Even though a couple of big name players have already exited the tournament at the first round stage, the top half of the draw is still stacked with some massive talent and no less than three World Champions in this half of the draw, plus the likes of James Wade, Michael Smith and Mensur Suljovic who have all been in great form in the PDC over the past 12 months or so.
Michael van Gerwen is the man who has caught the eye the most and there is no doubt that he is the man to beat in the top half and in truth, if anyone does beat him, then they are likely to be the favourite to progress from this stage. Of those players, Suljovic, Wade and Anderson may be the ones most likely.
Anderson is the current champion here but his form, on his return from injury, is still a little erratic and that won’t be good enough against van Gerwen. Wade and Suljovic can both sustain performance levels enough to beat Mighty Mike, but they do struggle to do that in front of the TV cameras, so I am still backing the Dutch World Number 1 to make it through to the final here.
I think the bottom half of the draw is perhaps a little more clear cut that the top. Rob Cross is the top seed in this half of the draw and he is in solid form and I would expect Cross to meet another in-form player, Peter Wright in the semifinal.
The Scotsman has enjoyed a real turnaround in form of late after a miserable start to the season saw him underperform in both the World Championship and the subsequent Premier League. However, his recent form in tournament play has been exceptional and if he can carry that form over to Blackpool then he has a real chance.
Of the remaining players, perhaps Daryl Gurney is the other that stands a real chance of causing an upset, but he does not have the best record at Blackpool and I think his form isn’t quite at the level of Cross or Wright at the moment.
It will be close in the bottom half but I think Peter Wright will do just enough to claim a spot in the final and a chance to take on van Gerwen in a race to 18.