PDC World Championship – Day Four Preview
It’s day four at the PDC World Championships and another double session.
To help guide you through all the matches I have compiled my previews and verdicts.
Here they are.
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Michael Rasztovits v Rob Szabo (Prelim)
- Rasztovits has qualified for the World Championship’s for the first time ever, he came through the East European Qualifying event defeating former qualifier Boris Krcmar in the final.
- Rasztovits has unsuccessfully tried to qualify for the tour at Q school in each of the last 3 years, he does play in some of the Euro Tour qualifiers but has failed to qualify for one of the main tournaments this year.
- Szabo is playing in his 2nd PDC World Championships having first qualified 2 years ago. He earned his place in this tournament by winning the DPNZ Qualifier earlier in the year.
- On his debut 2 years ago he won his prelim match against Ian Moss before losing in the Last 64 3-1 to Phil Taylor, Szabo took the first set of that match.
Szabo looked good on his debut at the Alexandra Palace back in December 2013 and has played on the big stage since then at the World Cup of Darts and in the Auckland Masters. Rasztovits hasn’t managed to make a real impact in any of the PDC tour events in which he has played. Based on this I would make Szabo the favourite and expect him to come through this match.
Andy Hamilton v Joe Murnan
- Hamilton will be competing in his 12th consecutive PDC World Championships. He has never lost in the first round.
- His best run in the tournament came when he went all the way to the final in the 2012 tournament before losing to Adrian Lewis.
- This is Hamilton’s first TV ranking tournament appearance since the World Matchplay back in July, overall his season on tour hasn’t been great with 2 quarter-final appearances his best showings.
- Murnan has made it through to his 1st PDC World Championships, having also made his first appearances at the World Matchplay and Players Championship Finals this year.
- To say he didn’t actually win a tour card at Q school it has been a successful season for Murnan. He won a PDC pro tour ranking tournament in May defeating Dave Chisnall in the final. He also won a couple of events on the challenge tour.
- Murnan has a win against Hamilton to his name but trails 2-1 on their head to head record. They haven’t met since March 2014 and Hamilton won on that occasion.
Out of the two players it can be said that Murnan has had the more productive season and will be coming into the tournament with more confidence. Hamilton’s good record in the 1st round at the Worlds can’t be ignored though but he is also facing more pressure as he is playing less on TV and his ranking is falling. I do think there is a possibility of Murnan upsetting the seeded player but it’s not a match where I am confident on the outcome.
Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena
- Suljovic is competing at his 8th PDC World Championships, having also played once in the BDO version. He has never been further than the Last 32 in the PDC World’s and has lost in the Last 64 in each of his last 3 visits to the Championships.
- Although his record here might not appear great, he does have some good wins on this stage having beaten Manley, van Gerwen and Wade (none of those players averaged over 90 against Suljovic though). His best actual performance in the Worlds probably came last year when he lost to Michael Smith in the 1st round in a high quality match where both players averaged in the high 90’s
- He has had a great season, reaching 2 TV ranking tournament semi-finals and 2 quarter-finals, not to mention a number of semi-finals away from the TV.
- Wattimena is making his 2nd World Championship appearance having made his debut in the prelim round last year. He lost 4-3 to Marijanovic in that prelim but did have 4 darts to win the match.
- He earned his PDC tour card at Q School back in January and has played regularly on tour this season, his furthest run in a tournament is to the Last 16 stage.
- This will be the first time that Wattimena and Suljovic have met in a competitive darts match.
Suljovic has proven his talent and mental strength this season with some impressive performances on TV, his record might not be good at this tournament but that isn’t a factor for me as he is a more polished player now. Wattimena has a big task on his hands to try and get the better of the Austrian. He does have potential and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won a set but Suljovic should go through here.
Jamie Caven v Rasztovits/Szabo
- Caven will be playing in this tournament for the 9th consecutive year. He has 4 first round wins and 4 first round defeats and has won his first round match in each of the last 2 years.
- In his 4 first round defeats at the World Championships he has been beaten 3-2 in 3 of them. He has also lost in a deciding set in the second round in each of the last 2 years (both to van Barneveld).
- Caven has lost his last 4 matches in TV ranking tournaments; the last 3 of those were against Dave Chisnall, Ian White and Michael Smith.
Without knowing how the prelim winner has played and who Caven will be playing it is a tough match to call. Caven has the ability to win against either of the players but I wouldn’t say it was a certainty that he will do. I’m still tipping Caven to go through though.
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Aleksandr Oreshkin v Paul Lim (Prelim)
- Oreshkin will be making his debut; he came through the Russian Qualifying event to earn his place at his 1st World Championships.
- On his way to qualifying he defeated Boris Koltsov who played in this tournament last year (Koltsov won his prelim before losing 3-1 to Painter in the Last 64).
- He hasn’t played in any other PDC tournament, including the Euro Tour qualifiers so it is difficult to know his true standard.
- This will be Paul Lim’s 21st appearance at a World Championships having made his first appearance all the way back in 1982 meaning he is the player with the longest span ever at the World Championships.
- Lim of course has the honour of having hit the first ever 9 dart finish at a World Championship back in 1990, which was the year he also had his best run which was to the quarter-finals.
- Overall he has only ever won 2 of his 12 matches in the PDC World Championships.
Lim has vast amounts of experience and on his day was a dangerous player to draw, he is still a very capable player on the Soft Tip circuit and has had most of his recent success there. He doesn’t have a very good record at the PDC World Championships though. I don’t really know too much about the calibre of Oreshkin but he did have a good win over Koltsov in qualifying. I wouldn’t be quick to take the prices offered by the bookies on Lim without knowing what quality he is facing.
Stephen Bunting v Jyhan Artut
- Bunting made his debut at the PDC World Championships last year having switched from the BDO where he was the reigning champion, Bunting played in 7 BDO World Championship tournaments in total.
- On his debut last year he progressed all the way to the quarter-finals beating James Wade and Michael Smith before losing a tight game to van Barneveld.
- He has lost 5 of his last 6 matches in PDC TV ranking tournaments; this includes his semi-final defeat at the UK Open in March, but hasn’t lost to a player outside the top 32 in a PDC TV ranking match since he switched to the PDC in early 2014.
- Artut is playing in his 5th PDC World Championships. He has lost in each of his last 3 appearances in the Last 64 (those last 2 matches coming against Taylor and Anderson).
- On his tournament debut back in December 2009 he defeated Wayne Mardle in their first round match. His other win on the World Championship stage came in a prelim against Scott MacKenzie 5 years ago.
- Artut did actually beat Bunting in their last meeting which was in July at a Euro Tour event. Artut winning that match 6-3. Bunting won their only other meeting by a 6-5 scoreline back in 2014.
Bunting hasn’t shown the form on TV in 2015 that he did in 2014 but he is still a quality performer who has the capability to go deep into this tournament. Artut has never averaged above 88 at the World Championships and realistically shouldn’t be a big threat to put Bunting out of the tournament. The only factor I see as a stumbling block for Bunting is that Artut did beat him this year and their only other meeting was a last leg decider. This is a different stage though and I expect Bunting to avoid any upset.
Raymond van Barneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode
- This will be Barney’s 10th appearance at the PDC World Championships, that added to the 14 BDO appearances at he has featured at a total of 24 World Championship tournaments and is of course a 5 time Champion.
- He has only lost in the 1st round on 1 occasion at the PDC Worlds, this was a 3-0 defeat against James Richardson 4 years ago. He has won 3-0 on each occasion in his opening match since then, all 3 of those wins against good young players (Jamie Lewis, Michael Smith and Rowby-John Rodriguez).
- He has been beaten in the opening round of 4 TV ranking tournaments this season, they were at the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, European Championship and Players Championship Finals.
- He will be making his debut in this tournament, his only other experience of PDC major ranking tournaments were at the European Championship in November when he lost to Pipe in the first round and at the UK Open, losing in early rounds in both 2014 and 2015.
- On the main tour this season his best tournament runs have been reaching 2 quarter-finals in Players Championship events.
- He has played van Barneveld twice previously with Barney winning both times, the most recent was 6-4 in a Pro Tour event in September of this year.
Raymond van Barneveld may have had some underwhelming performances on TV at times this season but he usually shows up focused at the World Championships (barring his early exit to Richardson 4 years ago), his opponent van Duijvenbode does have confidence and he will relish the chance to take on the 5 time World Champion on the big stage. I believe that van Barneveld will show up focused for this game and as he has done in each of the past 3 years in the opening round he will put on a good display and earn his place in the Last 32.
Mervyn King v Oreshkin/Lim
- King is appearing at his 20th World Championships (9th in the PDC and 11 played in the BDO). He is a 2 time finalist and has lost 4 times in the semi-finals.
- As good as King’s record is overall at the World Championships he has only been past the Last 32 on one occasion during the last 6 years and only twice in total during the 8 PDC World Championships in which he has played.
- He has been beaten in the Last 64 in 2 of the last 3 years, losing 3-2 to both Max Hopp (last year) and to Dean Winstanley (3 years ago). The last 5 first round matches at the PDC World which he has won have all been won 3-0.
King hasn’t had the best of years by his standards having not been past the quarter-finals in a ranking tournament for the first year since he joined the PDC. He could have had a lot tougher first round matches than this though. We have seen some shocks at this tournament so far and we will see some more but I think King will avoid one and will be playing in the Last 32 after Christmas.