By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 23/07/18 8:54pm
The second round gets underway at the World Matchplay on Tuesday evening, as Gary Anderson takes on Raymond van Barneveld in a blockbuster clash at the Winter Gardens.
Anderson, who has never made it beyond the semi-finals in his nine previous Blackpool appearances, has been installed as the new tournament favourite following Michael van Gerwen’s shock opening-round exit.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ recovered from 5-3 behind to defeat Stephen Bunting 10-7 in his opener, and the two-time world champion now takes on five-time world champion van Barneveld for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I’ll keep plodding on and see how far I can go – it’s well documented that this isn’t my favourite tournament but I’ll give it a good go,” Anderson insisted.
2010 finalist Van Barneveld has not reached the quarter-finals at the Winter Gardens since 2011, but he kicked off his campaign by fending off a late fightback to defeat Kyle Anderson 10-6 in a scrappy affair.
However, Van Barneveld admits he must improve if he’s to overcome the Scot, saying: “Against Gary I will have to be a lot better. To win games on this stage you have to play your A game but I will be fully focused in that game.”
2017 semi-finalist and fifth seed Daryl Gurney meets Joe Cullen in another tasty last-16 tie, after ‘Super-Chin’ incredibly survived 11 match darts in his gripping tussle against Steve West on Sunday afternoon.
Cullen’s progress was far more serene as he dispatched a struggling Gerwyn Price 10-3, to secure his first World Matchplay victory. ‘The Rockstar’ has won five of his eight games against Gurney, but the Northern Irishman defeated Cullen en route to winning last year’s World Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, Gurney is well aware of the threat posed by Cullen. “I know Joe well, we’ve played a couple of hard games. He may lead me 5-3 in meetings, but when he played me in the World Grand Prix in Dublin I hammered him 3-1. I’ll be looking to keep up that record,” he claimed.
“He wasn’t really tested against Gerwyn Price. but if he goes on and plays well against me it wouldn’t shock me because he’s one of those up and coming players. He’s been around a lot longer than me. He’s a great player and anyone who beats him will have to play really well to do so.”
Jeffrey de Zwaan will bid to replicate his giant-killing heroics as he takes on another two-time world champion in the shape of Adrian Lewis.
De Zwaan, the lowest ranked player in the field, caused one of the biggest shocks in World Matchplay history by beating Van Gerwen 10-6 on Saturday’s opening night – his second televised win over MVG this year.
Lewis also sealed his progression in dramatic fashion, winning seven of the final eight legs as he rallied from 7-3 behind to dump out James Wilson in the tournament’s curtain-raiser.
‘Jackpot’ has also beaten De Zwaan in seven of their previous eight showdowns, although the Dutchman did claim his solitary win over Lewis in a Players Championship semi-final in March this year.
However, Sky Sports’ Keith Deller believes Lewis has what it takes to go all the way at the Winter Gardens this year.
“The thing about Adrian is ‘bottle’ – he’s got hundreds of it. You don’t win back-to-back World Championship titles and hit a nine-darter in the final if you haven’t got bottle. That’s what he has got plenty of and he won’t ever give up.
“He gets frustrated because he knows how good he is and how well he’s playing through all the hard work he’s putting in. The hard work paid off against James Wilson.
Live World Matchplay Darts
July 24, 2018, 7:00pm
“You have to realise that Adrian was unable to practise enough before his back operation last year so if you’re not practising enough the standard is getting higher, there’s more people hitting hundred averages now, and Adrian wasn’t able to get the chance to practise.
“Now he can go up there and say ‘I’m on the practice board’ and he can do it now. He’s very rarely been out of the top four for the last six years so that takes some doing with all the quality about,” he added.
Elsewhere, the evening’s action begins with an all-St Helen’s clash between Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall. ‘Bully Boy’ saw off the challenge of Jonny Clayton in round one and is bidding to reach the Matchplay quarter-finals for the very first time.
Chisnall, a four-time quarter-finalist at the Winter Gardens, won nine of the final 10 legs to defeat an off-colour Keegan Brown in his first-round tie, but he’s without a win in his last four matches against this year’s Premier League finalist.
Join us for further coverage of the World Matchplay on Tuesday July 24 at 7pm on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event. The darts will run through to the final on Sunday, July 29.
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