Betfred World Matchplay: Day Two Preview
Night one at the Betfred World Matchplay saw all three champions involved on the bill make it through to round two, as did Dave Chisnall.
Today is a unique day at the Winter Gardens, as it’s the only day of the entire event where two sessions take place.
Two former champions of the event get their campaigns underway, and the winner of the most recent PDC event also graces the Blackpool stage for the first time in 2021.
Here’s what to look forward to on day two of the Betfred World Matchplay.
Cross and Wade headline afternoon session
We start Sunday’s action with a game between Krzysztof Ratajski and Brendan Dolan. Ratajski reached the second round of this tournament in 2019, and then the quarter finals in 2020. He’s also reached the last eight of the World Championship and UK Open, so can The Polish Eagle reach his maiden PDC TV semi final, and possibly win his first ever big tournament?
Dolan comes into this event having topped the Pro Tour Order of Merit qualifiers. He’s won a Players Championship floor event in 2021, but has not made the quarter finals of any PDC TV event since the 2019 World Championship. After losing in round one to Michael van Gerwen last year, can The History Maker make the second round of the Matchplay for the first time since 2016?
An intriguing tie awaits second, as Glen Durrant takes on Callan Rydz. Duzza has made the semi finals of the last two World Matchplay’s, but has struggled for form since testing positive for Covid-19 last year. Can Durrant produce a victory this afternoon and produce a stunning return to form at the Winter Gardens?
Callan Rydz will be hoping to follow his fellow North East of England player Duzza and reach the semi finals on debut. He’s already won a Pro Tour title this year, and reached the fifth round of the UK Open in 2021. Will The Riot run riot on Duzza in his first ever game at this tournament?
Rob Cross takes on Ross Smith in the third afternoon game, in what could be a brilliant match. Cross was the last man to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy at the Winter Gardens, but has had a disappointing two years since. He’s been relegated in both the 2020 and 2021 Premier League, and went out in the second round of the World Championship. However, there’s been signs at the recent Super Series events that his form might be picking up. Can Voltage continue improving and make the second round today?
After coming so close for two years, Ross Smith has finally made the World Matchplay field. After being consistent across the Pro Tour and Euro Tour, he secured his place in Blackpool by winning his first PDC title at the most recent Super Series. Can Smudger continue his excellent form and win his first ever game on the Blackpool stage?
The final game of the afternoon could be another gem, as James Wade faces off against Luke Humphries. Wade has been his usual consistent self in the last 12 months. After reaching the finals of both the European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts in 2020, The Machine won his third UK Open in March, beating Humphries in the final. Can Wade now go onto win his second Matchplay title, 14 years after his first?
Humphries has also been extremely consistent this year. He beat Michael van Gerwen en route to his first ever TV final against Wade, and has reached three Pro Tour finals since. While he’s still waiting for his maiden title, the former World Youth Champion looks to be a threat on debut. Will Cool Hand get revenge for the UK Open final loss to Wade, and reach the second round in Blackpool?
Evening session sees Wright and De Sousa get campaigns underway
The evening session starts with Joe Cullen facing Chris Dobey. The last time Cullen was on this stage in 2019, he was whitewashed, quite literally, by Ian White. He has however reached the quarter finals of the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals, as well as winning multiple floor events to come close to topping the Pro Tour Order of Merit. What can The Rockstar deliver on the Blackpool stage this evening?
Dobey secured his return to the World Matchplay by winning his first ever PDC title at the most recent Super Series. He’s made two semi finals of TV tournaments, at the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship Finals, both back in 2019. Now he’s defending them on his ranking, can Hollywood start an excellent Matchplay run and move into round two?
Next up, Michael Smith takes on Ryan Searle in what should be a brilliant game. Bully Boy is still waiting to capture his first ever PDC title, having made the final of this event two years ago, and the semis last year. He’s also returned to the winner’s circle in the last 12 months, winning three titles on the floor. Can Smith take the next step and finally break his major hodoo?
Searle has been consistent on the floor over the last 12 months, regularly making deep runs to secure his debut in the Matchplay. He’s not yet made a quarter final in the PDC on TV, but can Heavy Metal deliver on the Blackpool stage at the first time of asking?
The world number two Peter Wright then gets his campaign underway next, taking on Dutchman Danny Noppert in game three. Wright comes into this tournament having won the last PDC event before the Matchplay, as well as defending European Champion. As a former finalist in 2017, he’s said he will go one better in 2021 and lift the title. Will Snakebite be proven right in his first round game?
Noppert has once again been very good on the floor, helping him to qualify for his third straight Betfred World Matchplay. While he’s not made a semi final in a ranked event since the Players Championship Finals, he did cause a huge upset last year at the tournament, beating Gerwyn Price in round one. Will The Freeze make it two upsets in a row in 2021?
Our final game of the evening sees Jose De Sousa play Gabriel Clemens. It’s been a remarkable rise for De Sousa, who followed up his Grand Slam of Darts victory last November by hitting the most 180s ever seen in a Premier League campaign, eventually finishing runner up to Jonny Clayton. He’s also won back to back Pro Tour titles in 2021, leading him to top the Pro Tour Order of Merit. After making his debut in this event last year, will The Special One win his first game on the Blackpool stage and continue his excellent form?
Clemens has also been very consistent on the floor, reaching three semi finals in Players Championship events to help secure a return to this event. This will also be his first game in Blackpool, and despite not winning a TV title, is more than capable of producing in the big moments. After taking out then defending World Champion Peter Wright at the Worlds in December, can The German Giant produce another memorable performance and knock out De Sousa?
2021 Betfred World Matchplay Day Two Schedule of Play
Afternoon Session – 13.00 BST
First round x4
Krzysztof Ratajski v Brendan Dolan
Glen Durrant v Callan Rydz
Rob Cross v Ross Smith
James Wade v Luke Humphries
Evening Session – 19.30 BST
First round x4
Joe Cullen v Chris Dobey
Michael Smith v Ryan Searle
Peter Wright v Danny Noppert
Jose de Sousa v Gabriel Clemens
How can I follow the Betfred World Matchplay?
The Betfred World Matchplay will be live on Sky Sports in the UK. You can also watch it outside the UK via the PDC’s broadcast partners, such as RTL or DAZN.
You can also live stream the event. Find out more here.
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