PDC World Championship – Day Two Preview
The PDC World Championship’s moves into it’s 2nd day today (Friday) with the first double session of the tournament.
Yesterday didn’t produce any big shocks , although a seeded player did exit the tournament with Jamie Lewis losing to Daryl Gurney, there were comfortable wins for both Peter Wright and Gary Anderson.
Amongst the players in action today are Michael van Gerwen, Mark Webster and Kim Huybrechts. Seeded players John Henderson, Justin Pipe and Brendan Dolan face tough tests in matches that could go either way.
Here are my previews for the afternoon session.
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Qiang Sun v Mick McGowan (Prelim)
- Qiang Sun is making his first appearance in a World Championship having qualified through the Greater China qualifying event.
- He has mainly played in Soft Tip darts events previously but isn’t known as one of the major players in that version of the sport.
- McGowan is returning to the PDC World Championships for the first time since the 2008 event, he was actually seeded in the top 32 for that tournament but was beaten 4-3 by the surprise package of the tournament Kirk Shepherd in the Last 32.
- In his appearance in the 2007 World Championships he impressively averaged 101.8 against Phil Taylor in their Last 32 encounter, unfortunately for McGowan he was on the end of a 109 average from Taylor and lost the match 4-1.
- He qualified for this tournament by winning the 2015 Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final. McGowan was a regular on the PDC circuit between 2007 and 2010; as well as the World Championships he has also played in the World Matchplay, UK Open and World Grand Prix.
A lot more is known about McGowan and he starts as an obvious favourite for the match, if this was played over the old format for the prelims of first to 4 legs there might be more chance of an upset. I must confess not to knowing the full standard of Qiang Sun but I would be surprised if McGowan didn’t progress.
John Henderson v Darren Webster
- Henderson is competing in his 4th PDC World Championships having also played in the BDO version on 2 occasions. He has never managed to win back to back matches at any of the World Championships in which he has played.
- His best World Championship performance came when he defeated number 7 seed Dave Chisnall 3-2 in the opening round 2 years ago. 5 of his 6 defeats at the World Championships have been against players who have won or went onto win a World Championship title.
- Henderson’s best run on TV this season was to the quarter-finals of the European Championship which was his first TV quarter-final since 2011.
- This is Webster’s 6th appearance at the PDC World Championships; he reached the quarter-finals back in 2007 (the final year it was played at the Circus Tavern), his run was ended by Phil Taylor in that tournament.
- Last year was the only other year in which he progressed past the opening round; he defeated the number 7 seed Simon Whitlock before losing 4-3 to Dean Winstanley.
- Webster has only won 2 of his last 14 matches in PDC TV ranking tournaments.
- Webster leads 3-1 on their head to head record and has won their last 3 meetings. They haven’t played since 2013 though when those wins came all within a month when Webster was on a very good run of form.
There isn’t a lot to separate these players in the PDC rankings with Henderson ranked 32 and Webster less than handful of places outside the top 32. Webster hasn’t really threatened to break into the top 32 during the season and Henderson has enjoyed the more consistent year, having also played in most of the TV ranking tournaments though has had some very tough draws in them. I give Henderson the slight edge but in reality the two players are fairly evenly matched and I have no real preference on who will win.
Justin Pipe v Christian Kist
- Pipe is playing in his 6th consecutive PDC World Championships; his best performance came 4 years ago when he reached the Last 16 having defeated the number 7 seed Wes Newton along the way before losing to Terry Jenkins.
- Last year he made a very disappointing early first round exit to Loz Ryder from Australia, losing 3-2 and averaging just over 86.
- He managed to stop his run of first round exits on TV with wins against Beaton at the Grand Prix and van Duijvenbode at the European Championships but hasn’t won back to back matches on TV for over 2 years.
- Kist is competing at his 2nd PDC World Championships having made his debut last year, losing a tough opening round match against Dutch compatriot Jelle Klaasen.
- His finest moment in darts came when he won the BDO World Championship back in 2012 as an unseeded player; he failed to get past the Last 32 in each of the following 2 years and has only won one match at a World Championship since he lifted the title.
- They have met only once before in a competitive match, Justin Pipe won that game 6-1 in a UK Open qualifier back in early 2014.
Both players are capable of much better than the form they have shown during this season, it has really been just over 2 years since Pipe played his best darts and although Kist has moved into the top 40 in the PDC rankings he had a better season during 2014. I think this game might become a little nervy and am just giving the edge to Pipe based on the fact he might stop Kist getting into a rhythm.
Mark Webster v Sun/McGowan
- Webster is making his 10th appearance at a World Championship (7th in the PDC). He won the BDO version in 2008 and reached the semi-finals in each of his first two years in the PDC. In the last 2 years he has been knocked out by van Gerwen (QF) and Taylor (Last 16).
- He had his best run in a TV tournament for nearly 4 years when he reached the semi-finals at the World Grand Prix in October. He has wins against both Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis on TV this season
- Webster has only ever lost to one unseeded player at the World Championships; this was against Richie Burnett 4 years ago in their first round match.
Webster won’t have been displeased with his first round draw being against a prelim winner and he has been playing with enough confidence this season to ensure he doesn’t slip up and put himself under any unnecessary pressure. I expect Webster to come through against whoever he plays in this match.
Now onto the evening session
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Thanawat Gaweenuntawong v Rene Eidams (P)
- Gaweenuntawong will be competing at the World Championships for the first time and is the first Thai player to play in the PDC World Championships. He came through the South-East Asia Qualifier back in August to earn his spot in the tournament.
- He has been on our TV screens before having played in the World Cup of Darts in each if the last two years (losing first game to N.Ireland and England), both times he only played pairs though.
- Rene Eidams is also making his World Championship debut having qualified through the German qualifying event. Eidams lost 2 of his 3 group matches but still made it through to the semi-finals and then defeated Mike Langendorf in the final (Langendorf had beaten Eidams in the group stage).
- Eidams has attempted to qualify for 6 of the Euro Tour events this season without success, he did make it through to the German Darts Championships Euro Tour event in early 2014 and was beaten 6-5 in the first round by Joe Palfreyman.
For both players just qualifying for this event is a big achievement and the opportunity to take on MVG is the prize for the winner, neither player has any big claims that they should start as a big favourite, Eidams is more well-known but hasn’t made an impact in Euro Tour qualifying, Gaweenuntawong generally plays more competitive soft tip than he does steel tip darts. I couldn’t pick a winner with confidence in this match so won’t try!
Brendan Dolan v Kyle Anderson
- Dolan is competing at his 8th consecutive PDC World Championships and he has yet to get past the Last 32, he has won he first round game 5 times from 7 matches though and has only lost to players who are currently ranked in the top 32.
- His best World Championship match result came 5 years ago when he defeated Kevin Painter 3-0 in their first round match, Dolan averaged over 96 in that game.
- Dolan has won only 1 of his last 6 matches in TV ranking tournaments (that win against van der Voort at the World Matchplay).
- This is Anderson’s 4th appearance at this event; he qualified this year through the PDC order of merit.
- He famously hit a 9 dart finish at the World Championships 2 years ago but went on to lose that match. He has won 1 of his 3 first round matches, that win was against Beaton last year.
- Anderson has wins against Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock and Stephen Bunting on TV over the last 18 months.
A very tough draw for Dolan, with Anderson being one of the most dangerous of the unseeded players; Anderson has had a good year on tour and has certainly benefitted from spending more time in the UK competing on a more regular basis against the top players. Dolan himself hasn’t lived up to the form he showed over the last few years and he has now slipped outside the top 16. My prediction here is for Anderson to win 3-1 or 3-2.
Kim Huybrechts v David Pallett
- Huybrechts is in his 5th PDC World Championship tournament. His best performance came on his debut when he reached the quarter-finals before losing to eventual finalist Andy Hamilton. Last year he was knocked out in the Last 16 by Phil Taylor by 4 sets to 3 in a match Huybrechts had led 3-2.
- His only defeat in the first round came 3 years ago when he lost 3-2 to Scott Rand; it was an emotional build up to the tournament for Huybrechts as his father had passed away shortly before it began.
- Pallett made his World Championship debut last year and was handed a very tough test against 2 time champion Adrian Lewis. Pallett took out a 161 finish to take the first leg but that stoked Lewis into action and Pallett was to only win 2 more legs.
- He has been playing on the PDC tour since 2013 when he came through the qualifying school. His best tournament performance came earlier this year when he reached the semi-finals of the European Matchplay in September.
- On his way to that semi-final Pallett actually defeated Kim Huybrechts 6-5 in the quarter-finals, that was their most recent meeting; Huybrechts leads the head to head 3-2.
David Pallett is steadily climbing up the rankings and could prove to be a tough opponent for Huybrechts but I don’t anticipate an upset, although Huybrechts hasn’t been getting into the later stages of TV tournaments, he has still produced some strong performances and it is normally a higher ranked player who ends his run.
Michael van Gerwen v Gaweenuntawong/Eidams
- World number one Michael van Gerwen is competing in his 10th World Championship (9th in the PDC). He actually lost his first World Championship match in both the BDO and the PDC and lost 5 of his first 7 World Championship matches overall.
- Since he lost in the first round to Mensur Suljovic 5 years ago he has now won 17 and lost just 3 of his matches at the World Championships.
- His average of just under 97 in the opening round against Joe Cullen last year was the highest he has averaged in the opening round at a World Championships.
MVG will obviously start as a massive favourite against whoever comes through the prelim match, it would be arguably the biggest shock in World Championship history if he was to lose and I don’t see that happening. I expect a 3-0 win for van Gerwen.
That’s all from me for now, catch me on twitter @3dartanalyst for more stats and maybe some of my betting selections too.