The second day of the World Matchplay contains two sessions of play, the first of which comes along on Sunday afternoon when another eight dartists get their tournament underway inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
The opening night saw the four seeds all cruise through to the second round but the more established players look a little more vulnerable over the course of Sunday afternoon so we should see a more competitive session of arrers.
Krzysztof Ratajski vs Brendan Dolan
The opening match of the afternoon sees two evenly matched players going at it when Krzysztof Ratajski takes on a Brendan Dolan who will be confident coming in here after a decent week at the Super Series last week.
Indeed Dolan has played well in plenty of those Players Championship events this season after speeding up his game and looking much the better for it. Ratajski is usually a machine on the floor but that hasn’t been the case in recent times which suggests me might be there for the taking here. He has won both matches against Dolan in their careers though so that is something he has on his side at least. I expect a close match here between two men who are pretty evenly matched so over 16.5 legs will do me in this one.
Glen Durrant vs Callan Rydz
The second match of the afternoon is a battle of proud men from the North East as the 2020 Premier League champion Glen Durrant takes on a Callan Rydz who is playing the best darts of his career this year, something that has resulted in his first PDC title earlier in the campaign.
The fall off in the form of Durrant has been alarming this year. He has fallen from grace so much that he is a heavy underdog for this match. Rydz is on debut in this tournament though so Durrant will be hoping to use experience to his advantage. Rydz also won’t have been an overwhelming favourite for a match of this statute before either so that is another thing that the youngster will be battling with here but he is more than good enough to get the job done still. Those elements make me resist a bet on this one though.
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Rob Cross vs Ross Smith
The third match of the afternoon looks another interesting affair as the 2019 winner of this tournament, Rob Cross, takes on a player who won a Players Championship title last week in Ross Smith in another clash that has the potential to be very tight.
This is a huge match for Cross. As the winner two years ago he is defending a lot of ranking cash this week and really can’t afford to lose here. Smith has little to lose in that regard and after picking up a win on the floor last week he is likely to be buzzing here. We’ve seen Smith lay it down to the big guns on the big stages before and he’ll be up for doing that again. Cross actually played better than his results suggested at the Super Series last week so both men look in good form which means this one can sail beyond 16.5 legs before its conclusion.
James Wade vs Luke Humphries
The final match of the afternoon is a repeat of the UK Open final from earlier in the season as the former winner of this tournament James Wade takes on the man he beat to land that UK title in Luke Humphries.
This is another match in which both men will fancy their chances of making it through. Humphries is a confident player who has twice made the last eight at Alexandra Palace but Wade would have owned this stage if a certain Phil Taylor didn’t exist. He has won this tournament once and made the final of it five other times whereas Humphries is on debut here. That might be the difference between the two here but I’m on Wade outright and the draw should open up for him if he wins this so I’ll leave this final game alone.
Back K.Ratajski vs B.Dolan – Over 16.5 legs for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with William Hill
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Back R.Cross vs R.Smith – Over 16.5 legs for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Boylesports
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