PDC World Championship – Day Three Preview

It’s another double session at the PDC World Championship’s today and as usual I have stats, facts and predictions on all of the matches.

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

Kim Viljanen v Sven Groen (Prelim)

Viljanen

  • Viljanen is making his 2nd appearance at the PDC World Championship’s having made his debut last year, he will be hoping to make a better showing than he did on that occasion as he exited the tournament in the prelim match losing 4-1 Sascha Stein and averaging only 67.
  • He qualified as the leading player in the SDC (Scandinavian Darts Corporation) Order of Merit, winning three of the eight events during 2015.

Groen

  • Groen will be making his World Championship debut in this match, the Dutch youngster qualified from a 59 man field at the Central Europe Qualifier in November.
  • He has been mainly playing on the PDC Development Tour throughout the year and has a tournament win on the circuit to his name having won one of the events in October.
  • One of the best wins of his career came against Belgian Geert De Vos in the BDO Tops of Ghent tournament in 2014; Groen defeated De Vos 4-2 in their Last 16 match. De Vos had the highest average at this year’s Grand Slam of Darts.

Verdict

Despite his poor performance last year I think Viljanen is a steady enough player to warrant being the favourite in this match, Groen obviously has some potential having come through his qualifying section but he is still lacking experience and this is a big step up. I am just giving the edge to Viljanen but if he plays anything like he did last year he is likely to face an early exit.

 

Steve Beaton v Koha Kokiri

Beaton

  • Beaton is competing in his 25th consecutive World Championships which is really some achievement (for the record its 10 in the BDO and 15 in the PDC).
  • He did of course win the BDO World Title in 1996 but has never been past the Last 16 at the PDC World Championship’s (the last time he reached the Last 16 was in 2004) and he has never actually even won back to back matches at a PDC World Championship tournament.
  • On his way to winning the BDO title he won 5 matches, in 14 years in the PDC he has only won 7 matches in the World Champs, funnily enough though 5 of those matches have been wins to nil.
  • I don’t like giving out all the negative stats against Beaton so I will end with a positive one. When he won his World title he did so defeating 4 players in consecutive matches who were either a World Champion or were to become a World Champion (they were Part, Adams, Fordham and Burnett).

Kokiri

  • Kokiri qualified for his first PDC World Championships by winning the DPA Oceanic Masters, defeating former World Championship qualifier Warren Parry in the final.
  • The likes of Whitlock and Kyle Anderson are former winners of the Oceanic Masters and there are always some quality players in the field. His other main success of note came in the WDF Asia-Pacific Cup Singles in 2010.

Verdict

Beaton hasn’t had the best of times on our TV screens in recent years and as mentioned above his record at the PDC World Championships isn’t good. He does remain a very capable player on his day though and can’t be written off easily. Kokiri has had some good wins in his career but this is a higher level than he normally plays. A lot really depends on how quickly Beaton settles into the game, I certainly wouldn’t rule out Kokiri giving him some problems. I’d be tempted to go for over 3.5 sets as a bet in this game.

 

Ian White v Dimitri Van den Bergh

White

  • White is playing at his 5th PDC World Championships, having also competed once in the BDO version. His best performance came two years ago when he reached the quarter-finals only to be beaten 5-4 by Simon Whitlock (White trailed in sets 3-0 and 4-1 and just ended up losing 4 legs to 2 in the deciding set).
  • After losing in the first round at his first 3 World Championships he has progressed past the opening round in each of the last 2 years, winning 3-1 both times.
  • His World Championship defeats have all been against players who have played in the Premier League (Bunting, Thornton, Mark Webster, Whitlock and Kim Huybrechts).

Van den Bergh

  • Dimitri van den Bergh will be competing at his 1st World Championships; he also recently played in his 1st PDC TV tournament when he qualified for the World Series of Darts finals last month, he was beaten by Max Hopp in the first round on that occasion.
  • Still only 21 he has been playing on the Development Tour as well as the Main Tour, on the Development Tour he has won a couple of tournaments this year. On the Main Tour his best run has been to the Last 16 at a Players Championship event.
  • He has played White once before, this was back in September at a Euro Tour event when White won 6-4.

Verdict

White has had another consistent season and is threatening to break into the latter stage of a TV tournament sooner or later though he hasn’t been past the quarter-final stage in one so far. Van den Bergh has had some good performances through this season but he is still in the formative stages of his darts career and has a lot of improving still to do. White is fairly reliable against players ranked outside the top 32 and I think he will make no mistakes in sealing his passage into the Last 32.

 

Kevin Painter v Viljanen/Groen

Painter

  • This will be Painter’s 22nd appearance at a World Championships (15 PDC and 7 BDO). His finest moment came when he reached the final in 2004, and he took Taylor all the way to a decider in that final.
  • It has been 5 years since Painter lost in the 1st round (that was to Brendan Dolan). His only other first round defeats at the PDC Worlds came to Colin Osborne (2007) and Ronnie Baxter (2002).
  • He has been absent from our TV screens most of this year having only qualified for the UK Open, this is the first year since the year 2000 that he hasn’t played in more than two PDC TV tournaments in a season.

Verdict

Painter is in need of a good run in this tournament and his opening round draw could have been a lot worse. It is hard to predict how quickly he will settle into the game and he may feel some nerves and pressure but he has the game to ensure he progresses to the next round and I expect him to do so.

 

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Keita Ono v Alex Tagarao (Prelim)

Ono

  • Keita Ono is making his 1st World Championship appearance; he qualified through the Japanese qualifying event that has previously produced qualifiers such as Muramatsu and Hashimoto.
  • He did compete in the BDO Winmau World Masters earlier this year and claimed the scalp of Andy Fordham in one of the very early rounds. Fordham earned his qualification for the Grand Slam of Darts that very same week so wasn’t in bad form.

Tagarao

  • Tagarao is also making his World Championship debut, he earned his place through the Philippines qualifying event, notably defeating Ilagan in the final. Ilagan has had wins against Jamie Lewis and Scott Waites and is a capable player on his day so a good scalp for Tagarao.

Verdict

Ono is the more well-known player and would appear to be the favourite to progress through to play Phil Taylor in the Last 64 but it is hard to write off Tagarao without actually having seen him play as he may adapt well to the stage and occasion and produce an unexpected performance. The signs point to an Ono win but I wouldn’t be quick to get involved in a bet on the game personally.

 

Simon Whitlock v Ricky Evans

 Whitlock

  • Whitlock is appearing at his 13th World Championships and is one of the rare players who have played in a PDC World Championship first, then participated in the BDO version and then move back across to play in the PDC World Championships again.
  • Last year he suffered his 1st ever first round exit at any World Championship he has played, when he lost 3-1 to Darren Webster.
  • With 2 final appearances (1 in the BDO and 1 in the PDC) and 3 semi-final appearances there aren’t many players currently in this tournament with such World Championship form overall during the last 10 years.

Evans

  • Evans is returning for his 2nd participation at the PDC World Championships. On his debut 2 years ago he defeated Ronnie Baxter 3-0 in the first round before losing 4-2 to Mervyn King in the Last 32.
  • He earned his place in the tournament through the PDC qualifiers, where he won 7 matches all on one day.
  • Evans has wins against James Wade and Adrian Lewis to his name this season and has beaten Whitlock this year also. He did lose to Whitlock the last time they played though, that match was in the Grand Slam of Dart qualifiers back in October.

Verdict

Whitlock had a good run to the quarter-finals at the recent Players Championship finals where he defeated Peter Wright along the way, he has gradually been increasing his confidence after a poor run on TV and is getting back on track to start showing some of the darts he is capable of. Evans is not an easy draw for Whitlock and has experience of playing on the World Championship stage previously. I think Evans is very much a confidence and momentum player so he could reel off a few legs in a row and take a set 3-0 but also some erratic darts could let Whitlock in. I am tipping Whitlock to go through but I think Evans will win at least 1 set and push Whitlock hard.

 

Vincent van der Voort v Laurence Ryder

van der Voort

  • Vincent van der Voort is competing at his 15th consecutive World Championships (6 BDO and 9 PDC). He has never been beaten in the first round in a PDC World Championship from his 8 previous appearances.
  • Last year he went all the way to the quarter-finals, just losing out 5-3 to Phil Taylor in a very high quality game where he pushed Taylor all the way.
  • The last time van der Voort lost in a PDC TV ranking event to a player outside the top 32 was against Christian Kist at the UK Open in March 2014 and that was the first time since the previous year’s UK Open.

Ryder

  • Ryder has qualified for this tournament for the 2nd year in a row. Last year he caused a shock by beating Justin Pipe in the opening round. He did lose 4-0 to Terry Jenkins in the Last 16 though.
  • He has had good success throughout the year on the DPA (Australian) circuit which led to his qualification for the World Championships.
  • He has extra experience against playing on the TV stage against the big names having featured in the World Series of Darts tournaments in Australia and New Zealand over the summer, although he lost to Lewis, Barney and Wright he will still have improved for the experience.

Verdict

Vincent van der Voort is a quality player who has moved back into the top 16 and will be looking to follow up his run to the quarters here last year. As mentioned above he has a very good record in the opening round at the World Championships and I wouldn’t expect that to change in this match. Having said that Ryder is capable of winning a set off van der Voort and it might not be plain sailing for the Dutchman. I am predicting a 3-1 win for van der Voort.

 

Phil Taylor v Ono/Tagarao

Taylor

  • Taylor is the only player who has played in all of the PDC World Championships and this is the 23rd staging of the tournament. He has of course lifted the trophy 14 times, adding the 2 BDO titles; he is the 16 time World Champion.
  • He has never been beaten in the opening round of a World Championship (PDC or BDO) and since the PDC introduced the Last 64 ten years ago he has won his first round match by a 3-0 scoreline on 8 occasions.
  • His highest first round average was 105.03 against Reg Harding in the 1999 World Champs. He hasn’t had the highest first round average in the 1R at a World Champs since 2007.

Verdict

It would appear to be madness to think that Taylor would struggle at all in this match and not come out a comfortable 3-0 winner, but as was shown in the van Gerwen match yesterday strange things can happen in darts from time to time. I’m still not expecting an upset in this match and I do think Taylor will win this comfortably.

 

 

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