Over the weekend at the seaside resort of Blackpool, 32 of the world’s top darts players have checked into their hotel to compete in the 2019 version of the PDC World Matchplay Darts tournament at the Empress Ballroon, Winter Gardens. The famous venue, which has been home to every World Matchplay event since the first in 1994, is one of the most iconic in the darting calendar and its seaside setting and summer date in the calendar, means it is also one fans love to attend too.
It is also a massive tournament for players, who rank this tournament as second only to the World Championship and as a result, all the very best players in the world will be in attendance, attempting to claim the top prize of £150,000 for the winner, out of a record prize fund of £700,000, £200,000 more than the previous event last year.
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The action got underway at the weekend with the first round of games and we have already seen some surprising results and some of the top 16 seeds tumbling out of the tournament.
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
Matches to be played later today
- 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
After this the tournament will proceed to the second round, where the draw has seen the following matches decided:
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
The second round of games gets underway on Tuesday night with the first four matches, followed by the second four on Wednesday. The quarterfinals take place on Thursday, with the semifinal on Friday and the final taking place on Saturday.
So out of those remaining in the tournament, who should be the ones to consider backing for the Outright Winner market with bet365 Sport?
Who are the best chances to win the PDC World Matchplay 2019?
Michael van Gerwen (11/8)
The Dutchman is my unsurprising pick to win this event as even though he has not been in the best of form of late, suffering a run of surprising defeats, he has the knack of being able to elevate his game beyond that of his peers in the top tournaments. Having only won this tournament twice before, van Gerwen will be wanting to cement his legacy by landing a few more in Blackpool and I think this year he will strongly fancy his chances.
Rob Cross (11/2)
The former World Champion found the year after winning the World Championship in dramatic style somewhat tough but he has been in good form of late and of the current crop of players, he is the one that seems to be most capable of causing an upset and defeating van Gerwen. As the second seed, he won’t meet the Dutchman until the final but he does have the prospect of playing an improving Peter Wright later in the tournament if it all goes to the formbook.
That could be a classic encounter and the winner of that should be ready to give van Gerwen, or whoever they face in the final, a real test.
Gary Anderson (13/2)
The defending champion of the World Matchplay is always a player to watch but injuries have blighted his 2019 season somewhat and after a semifinal appearance at the World Championship, missing out on the Premier League through injury has set him back a little this year. He did reach the 4th Round in the UK Open but in truth he is still not quite at his very best and that is reflected in his odds at the moment.
I can see Anderson reaching the quarterfinals at least and he could push on into the semifinals, but I can’t see him being able to get the better of van Gerwen at the present moment in time.
Peter Wright (9/1)
It has been an up and down season for the sixth seed Peter Wright. He was out of sorts at the World Championships and in the Premier League for most of the season and as a result he dropped down the rankings. However, in recent weeks, he has been in superb form, especially in the weekend floor tournaments and his form is such that many feel that he could be set for a real return to form in a tournament that the Scotsman is yet to win.
He has the advantage of being drawn in the lower half of the draw, which means that he would not face van Gerwen until the final and I think this makes him a very strong each way bet, although he would have to overcome either Daryl Gurney or Rob Cross, or both, on his way to the final. However, when he is in his best form, Wright is well capable. I think he is a smart each way choice.
Daryl Gurney (25/1)
Daryl Gurney reached the semifinals of this tournament back in 2017 but his performances in general have not been the best in Blackpool losing in the first round in 2016 and the second round last year. He is a World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner in the past and he has the talent to win more events, but what he does lack at the moment, as his form in 2019 shows, is the consistency of some of the top players.
I do think Gurney will come through the first round and the second but I feel his interest may be ended in the quarterfinal where he will likely come up against Peter Wright.