PDC World Championship – Day Seven Preview

Tonight sees the conclusion of the First Round at the PDC World Championships.

Here are my previews for all four matches.

Andrew Gilding v Gerwyn Price

 Gilding

  • Gilding is making his 2nd appearance at the PDC World Championships. On his debut last year he was well beaten 3-0 by Robert Thornton, Gilding lost 5 of the opening 6 legs but did have double attempts in 5 of those legs, the misses were punished and Gilding was to win only 2 legs overall.
  • He had his best run in a TV ranking event earlier this season when he reached the semi-finals of the UK Open (beating Painter, Klaasen, Wade and Suljovic before losing narrowly 10-8 to MVG in a match where Gilding averaged 108).
  • Apart from that run to the UK Open he has actually only won 2 TV ranking tournament matches since he joined the PDC in 2012.
  • He hasn’t had a good end to the season having only won 5 of his last 13 matches, and 3 Last 32 appearances are his best tournament performances since the start of September.

Price

  • Price also made his debut on the World Championship stage last year and as with Gilding he was on the wrong end of a 3-0 score line. Price did put up a decent performance in his defeat against Peter Wright who averaged nearly 99 with 50% on his doubles.
  • He only joined the tour at the start of 2014 but has made great strides up the rankings due to his consistency on tour, Price has appeared in all of the TV ranking tournaments this year with the exception of the Grand Slam, and notably he reached the quarter-finals at the World Matchplay beating two of the top eight seeds at this tournament along the way.
  • They have played on one previous occasion, this was in June 2014 at a Euro Tour qualifier where Price won 6-4.

Verdict

Gilding moved into the top 32 earlier this year with a very good showing at the UK Open and he has had some good runs in non TV tournaments over the past couple of years, but has failed to kick on and some of his performances in the second half of this season have been below the level he has shown to be capable of. Price has been gaining more and more experience on the TV and is on the cusp of breaking into the top 32 himself. Overall there isn’t a lot to separate them, Gilding averaged 108 over 18 legs in a semi-final against MVG earlier this year so that highlights what he is capable of, I don’t have a preference on who wins but from a betting perspective would maybe look at the game going the full 5 sets

 

Benito van de Pas v Max Hopp

van de Pas

  • Benito van de Pas made his PDC World Championship debut last year and upset seeds Paul Nicholson and Dave Chisnall on his way to the Last 16, he went on to lose that Last 16 match 4-0 to Robert Thornton. He did compete at the BDO World Championships 3 times previously but was beaten in the 1st Round on each occasion.
  • He has played in all of the TV ranking tournaments this season apart from the Grand Slam, most recently at the Players Championship Finals he reached the quarter-finals beating Bunting and Wade in the first two rounds.
  • van de Pas has played Hopp twice this season and has won both matches, one match was on the Pro Tour and one match was on the Development Tour.

Hopp

  • Hopp is playing in his 4th consecutive PDC World Championships, which for a player who is only aged 19 is some achievement.
  • His best win in the tournament came in last year’s 1st Round when he defeated Mervyn King, although King was struggling with his back in that match Hopp did average 96.6 and he hit 10x 180’s. The next round brought a 4-0 defeat against van der Voort with Hopp only winning 5 legs and averaging just under 86.
  • Hopp recently won the PDC World Youth Championship beating Nathan Aspinall in the final.

Verdict

A very interesting 1st Round match between 2 exciting young players with plenty more potential to come, Benito van de Pas is ahead of Hopp in his development and has had an excellent season on the tour which has in turn moved him into the top 32. Hopp is still improving, he can show inconsistency but he also has the ability to score heavily and push van de Pas hard. I am anticipating a Benito van de Pas win, it should be a good match to watch and I think both players have a bright future no matter who wins or loses.

 

Adrian Lewis v Jan Dekker

Lewis

  • Lewis is competing at his 11th consecutive PDC World Championships. He has an excellent pedigree in the tournament having won back to back titles.
  • He has never been beaten in the 1st Round at a World Championships and has only ever failed to reach the Last 16 on one occasion (that was 7 years ago when he lost 4-3 to Nicholson in the Last 32).
  • His recent TV form coming into this tournament is very good having reached the final at the Players Championship Finals, semi-finals at the World Series and European Championships and the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam.

Dekker

  • Dekker is making his debut at the PDC World Championships, but he is a 2 time semi-finalist and 1 time quarter-finalist at the BDO World Championships.
  • He missed out on winning a tour card when he played at Q school back in January but has competed regularly on the Pro Tour this season and reached the Last 16 at the UK Open. He has also competed on the Challenge Tour during 2015; he has had some success too winning 3 Challenge Tour events.

Verdict

Adrian Lewis has to be one of the main contenders for the whole tournament, due to his past record in the event and also having had an excellent season overall. Dekker has experience of playing big World Championship matches in the BDO but playing against Adrian Lewis at the Alexandra Palace is a massive task for him. Lewis has a good record in the 1st Round, I think he will be in confident mood and will progress without any major drama.

 

Jelle Klaasen v Joe Cullen

Klaasen

  • This will be Klaasen’s 10th World Championships (8th in the PDC), he won the BDO World Championship on his debut as an unseeded player beating Raymond van Barneveld in the final. His best run in a PDC Worlds was to the quarter-finals back in 2009, he hasn’t been past the Last 32 since then. In total has been beaten in 6 of his last 8 matches on the PDC World Championship stage.
  • Last year he posted his highest ever WC average of 100.7 in his 4-3 defeat to Gary Anderson in the Last 32, Klaasen led that match 3-1 and was also leading 2-1 in legs in the fifth set before Anderson managed to rescue the match and ended up winning the tournament.
  • Klaasen has had a very good year on the tour having won 2 ranking tournaments and reached a further 2 finals. In TV ranking tournaments he reached the quarter-finals at the Grand Prix and the European Championships but did exit in the 1st Round at the Matchplay, Players Championship Finals and Grand Slam.

Cullen

  • Cullen will be competing at his 6th consecutive PDC World Championships. The only match he has won at the World Championships was a prelim match back in December 2011.
  • In fairness to Cullen he has been beaten by Terry Jenkins (twice), John Part, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen in his 1st Round matches. Last year Cullen lost 3-1 in sets to MVG but each set went the full 5 legs.
  • He ended the Pro Tour season in good form having reached the quarter-finals in 2 of the final 3 tournaments, including a run to the quarters at the European Darts Grand Prix with back to back wins against Chisnall and van Barneveld (those tournaments were back in October though).

Verdict

Klaasen has been one of the most consistent players on the tour this season, and this is backed up with him having reached 4 ranking tournament finals. He hasn’t always shown his consistency over back to back games on TV but this seems to be improving. Cullen does have ability and is a dangerous 1st Round opponent for Klaasen especially if he starts the match well; he is very much a confidence player. This could easily be a match that goes the full 5 sets and should be a very entertaining game to round off the night.

 

The tournament starts up again on Boxing Day so until then I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all my best wishes.

 

 

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