PDC World Championship – Sunday 27th December Preview
Here are my previews for all six matches being played at the PDC World Championships today.
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
- Smith came through a very tough opening round match winning 3-2 against Jeffrey de Zwaan, the match went all the way to a deciding leg in the fifth set. Smith had trailed 2-1 in sets with his opponent having the throw in the fourth set but an impressive 134 checkout in the opening leg of that set really kick-started Smith and his finishing stats of 59%, a big reason he claimed the win.
- He has won his Last 32 match in each of the last 2 years at the World Championships, both times beating higher ranked players, most famously knocking out the number 1 seed and defending champion Phil Taylor 2 years ago. Last year in beating Dolan at this stage of the tournament Smith averaged just under 99 and hit 13x 180s in 21 legs of darts.
- Smith has won his last 4 matches against Steve Beaton and has won 6 of the last 7, his last defeat coming in November 2011. This is their 1st meeting in a TV ranking event though.
- Beaton had a fairly straightforward win in the Last 64, winning 3-0 against Kokiri. It has to be said though Beaton played some excellent darts during the match, he was averaging 103 into the 3rd set and finished the game with a fantastic 164 checkout in the final leg. His average of 95.87 was his highest ever in the PDC World Championships.
- He has only been further than the Last 32 on 2 occasions since he first played in the PDC World Championships and this is his 15th successive year of competing in it. The last time he did win a game at this stage was back in the 2004 tournament when he defeated Jamie Harvey 4-0.
- Beaton has only managed to get past the Last 32 twice in his last seventeen PDC TV tournaments.
Watching Beaton’s first round performance you have to wonder how his recent record on TV is so poor as there was plenty to admire about how he played, he still has plenty of quality but maybe not the consistency. Smith showed great maturity to come through his first round match when he looked to be in trouble and previously he might have let his head drop. Smith has a good record against Beaton and over the first to 4 sets I think he will be able to come out on top, if Beaton plays like he did in the opening round it would make things very interesting though. I’m going with a 4-2 win to Smith.
Van den Bergh
- Van den Bergh had a 3-1 win over the number 9 seed Ian White in the first round, the Belgian youngster came from a set down to win, he hit 4 checkouts of over 100 and had a checkout percentage of 50%.
- This is his World Championship debut and only the second PDC TV tournament in which he has played.
- He has only been past the Last 32 in a PDC ranking event all season on one occasion; this was a Last 16 appearance in a Pro Tour event back in April.
van de Pas
- Benito van de Pas also had a 3-1 opening round win, this came against World Youth Champion Max Hopp, it was a match in which Hopp struggled to capitalise on his opportunities, overall not one of the best performances from van de Pas but he did enough to get through.
- This is his second PDC World Championship and last year he reached the Last 16 beating Dave Chisnall at this stage of the tournament, van de Pas trailed 2-1 in that match (losing 2 sets 3-0) and managed to turn things around to take 3 sets in a row.
- He holds a 3-2 advantage in their head to head matches, winning both matches they have played during 2015. Three of their previous matches have been on the Development Tour and they have never played a match against each other on TV or under this set play format.
Benito van de Pas has more experience and more pedigree than his opponent having broken into the top 32 and also having been past this stage of the tournament last year. If you were to judge them on their first round performances though, you would say that Van den Bergh was the more impressive performer and has a chance of overturning the odds against another seeded player. I do expect van de Pas to play better than he did against Hopp but Van den Bergh has a serious chance of winning this match.
van der Voort
- Vincent van der Voort had a trouble free passage through the first round, only dropping 2 legs in a 3 set to 0 over Loz Ryder. Ryder only had darts at a double in 3 of the 11 legs played.
- He has won 4 and lost 4 of his previous matches played at this stage of his previous 8 PDC World Championships, last year he had a comfortable 4-0 win over Max Hopp to go through to the Last 16.
- Six of his last eight defeats in PDC World Championship matches have been against a top 8 seeded player and he has never been beaten in the PDC World Champs by an unseeded player.
- Anderson upset the number 18 seed Brendan Dolan 3-0 in the 1st It was a patchy performance from Anderson, Dolan had a dart at a double to win the opening and failed to punish some missed doubles from Anderson in the second set, but Anderson was a worthy winner in the end.
- He is competing at this stage of the competition for the second year in a row, last year he was beaten 4-2 by Andy Hamilton, having lost 9 of the last 11 legs after leading 2 sets to 1.
- His best performance in a PDC TV ranking tournament was his Last 16 appearance at the UK Open earlier this year, Anderson defeated James Wilson and Alan Norris before losing 9-8 to Mervyn King.
- Anderson has won the only previous meeting between the two players, that win came back in February in a UK Open Qualifier.
This should be a very entertaining match between two good Treble 20 hitters; van der Voort has played some good matches on TV over the last year and has only been beaten by Gary Anderson, Taylor, van Gerwen and Suljovic in TV ranking tournament since the Players Championship Finals of 2014. Kyle Anderson is improving all the time and is showing the benefit of having competed on the tour regularly over the last 2 years. I am tipping van der Voort to get the win in this match and expect it could go the full 7 sets; van der Voort is always capable of a good 3 dart combination finish so van der Voort to get the highest checkout might be worth a bet.
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
- Barney came through his 1st Round match comfortably; winning 3-0 vs Dirk van Duijvenbode, the first 2 sets of the match went all the way to a deciding leg. RVB averaged only just over 91 which was his lowest World Championship average since he lost in the 1st Round 4 years ago.
- He has only failed to get past the Last 32 at the PDC World Championship once in his nine previous appearances. In each of the last two years he has won 4-3 in tight matches against Jamie Caven at this stage of the tournament.
- van Barneveld defeated Bunting 5-4 in the quarter-finals of the World Championships last year, overall he has won 6 of his 7 matches against Bunting but did lose the last time they met (6-2 in a Players Championship event in October).
- Bunting was pretty much untroubled against Artut in the opening round winning 3 sets to 0. He only averaged 86.72 which was his lowest World Championship average since 2005.
- Last year in this round Bunting defeated James Wade 4-1. It wasn’t a good performance from Wade but Bunting took his chances well.
- Since he reached the semi-finals at the UK Open he has been beaten in the Last 32 in 3 of his last 4 TV ranking tournaments.
This has to be the pick of the matches in the entire round with 5 time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld taking on 2014 BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting. Barney has a good head to head record against Bunting but the win for Bunting in their last meeting may lessen that factor. Although neither player has been on top of their form on TV for much of the year there is still the potential for them to bring the best out of each other. I think van Barneveld will rise to the occasion and win this match either 4-2 or 4-3.
- Wade won 3-0 against John Michael in the 1st Round, averaging 95.77, the win extended Wade’s run of not having been beaten in the opening round in his last 10 World Championships.
- He lost 4-1 to Stephen Bunting at this stage of last year’s tournament, prior to that he had reached at least the quarter-finals in 6 of the last 7 years.
- Wade leads Newton 13-10 in the previous head to head matches; they haven’t met since November 2014 though. They have played each other at the World Championships before, which was in the quarter-finals 3 years ago and Wade won 5-4.
- Newton easily had the lowest winning average of any player from the 1st Round with just 77.8 in his win over Reyes. It certainly wasn’t an impressive performance and Reyes will be left wondering how he lost.
- The average in the win against Reyes was Newton’s lowest ever World Championship average.
- Newton is a 3 time quarter-finalist at the PDC World Championships, having lost all 3 of those matches in a deciding set.
Newton struggled in his 1st Round win and it is difficult to make a good case for him raising his level enough to get the better of Wade. When they met in the World Championships three years ago their quarter-final went all the way to a deciding set but this isn’t likely to be as close as that as Newton isn’t playing anything like he was when he reached 3 quarter-finals here. I would like to see Newton rediscover some of his best form but I think Wade will win this match comfortably.
- van Gerwen had a much tougher opening round match than everybody expected, he was cruising to what was going to be a routine win against Eidams, winning the first two sets without even conceding a dart at a double but Eidams came from nowhere to level up at 2 sets all (including winning 5 legs without MVG even having a dart at double). MVG did manage win the final set 4 legs to 2 and was a very relieved man.
- He didn’t go further than the Last 32 in his first 5 World Championships (BDO and PDC) but he has now won 18 of his last 21 matches on the World Championship stage.
- It is over 4 years since he failed to reach the Last 16 in a PDC TV ranking tournament. That was at the Players Championship Finals in December 2012.
- Since van Gerwen lost in the World Championship semi-finals last year he has played a total of 34 matches in PDC TV ranking tournaments and won 33 of them.
- MVG leads 6-1 in head to head matches against Webster, they have played twice this year on the Pro Tour with van Gerwen winning 6-1 and 6-0.
- Webster came from a set down in the 1st Round to defeat the number 32 seed John Henderson, averaging 88 with a checkout percentage of 37%.
- It has been 9 years since Webster progressed further than the last 32 at a World Championships (though he has only competed in 3 tournaments during that time).
- He has only twice been further than the Last 32 in any PDC TV ranking tournament; those times were at the 2007 World Championship where he reached the QF’s and the 2007 UK Open where he reached the Last 16.
Webster will have been given some encouragement having seen how MVG was given a scare by Eidams in Round One but it is difficult to see him replicating the feat, this match played over a slightly longer format will suit van Gerwen and it wasn’t a case of him playing poorly against Eidams. I wouldn’t rule out Webster taking a set but I don’t think he will run van Gerwen too closely.