PDC World Championship – Tuesday 29th December Preview

Welcome to my preview for today’s matches at the PDC World Championships.

The afternoon session starts with the final game of the Last 32 (King vs Klaasen) and then we have the start of the Last 16.

This is how the draw for the Last 16 looks right now.

Michael van Gerwen (1) vs Raymond van Barneveld (16)
Michael Smith (8) vs Benito van de Pas (24)
Adrian Lewis (5) vs Mensur Suljovic (21)
Peter Wright (4) vs Dave Chisnall (13)
Gary Anderson (2) vs Vincent van der Voort (15)
James Wade (7) vs Jamie Caven (23)
Alan Norris vs Mark Webster (22)
Phil Taylor (3) vs Mervyn King (14) or Jelle Klaasen (19)

 

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

 King vs Klaasen

King

  • King had to come back from 2 sets to 0 down in his first round match against Aleksandr Oreshkin winning 9 of the last 10 legs to overturn the Russian’s lead. King averaged in the high 90’s/low 100’s for the majority of the match and it was a very good performance throughout.
  • He has only been further than the Last 32 on 1 occasion from his last 6 World Championship appearances.
  • The last time he defeated a seeded player in a World Championship match was when he defeated Barrie Bates back in 2009, overall he has only had 2 wins against seeded players at PDC World Championship tournaments.

Klaasen

  • Klaasen had the highest average of any player in the 1st Round, his 102.54 in the 3-0 win over Cullen was the only opening round average of over 100.
  • He hasn’t been further than this round in the PDC World Championships since he reached the quarter-finals in 2009 and the only other time he has ever been further than the Last 32 in the BDO or PDC was when he won the BDO World Championship.
  • Klaasen trails King 13-10 on their head to head wins, he did win their last match which was a 6-4 win on the Pro Tour back in May and Klaasen has fond memories of beating King on his way to winning his World Title. King won the last time they played on TV (10-5 at the European Championships in 2014).

Verdict

Both of these players impressed in the 1st Round, Klaasen for his complete performance against Cullen and King for his ability to hold it all together when he was 2-0 down, playing at a high level throughout. Klaasen has had an excellent season on the tour whereas King overall has had a poor season by his standards and it is the extra confidence that Klaasen has been carrying that makes him my favourite to win this match, there is no doubt King has the game though. I think this game has the potential to go the full 7 sets.

 

THIRD ROUND (LAST 16)

Smith vs van de Pas

Smith v van de Pas

  • Both players are aiming to get through to the quarter-finals of the World Championships for the first time in their careers.
  • Smith has had the higher averages than van der Pas in both rounds so far and averaged 100 in his win over Beaton.
  • The finishing of Smith has also been superior, his tournament checkout percentage is just under 53% compared to only 34.6% for van de Pas.
  • Smith leads the head to head record with 4 wins to 3, van de Pas did win their last meeting which came on the Pro Tour in September but Smith won their most high profile match which also was this year, it was on the Euro Tour in the final of the International Darts Open and Smith won 6-3.

Verdict

All of the numbers are in favour of Smith; he is ahead of van de Pas in his career development too. Smith reached the semi-finals at the Grand Slam this year and he is looking more controlled and mature on the TV stage with every tournament. Benito van de Pas has had a good season and will keep improving but he doesn’t have enough to beat Smith over the first to 7 sets. Smith to win and not concede more than 2 sets is my prediction.

 

Wade vs Caven

Wade v Caven

  • Wade has made it through to the quarter-finals on 6 occasions at the World Championships; this is Caven’s first appearance at the Last 16 stage.
  • Both of the players have had an untroubled passage through the opening two rounds, neither has dropped a set and Caven has only dropped 3 legs in total.
  • Wade has a small lead over Caven in the tournament average, this would have been a bigger lead if Wade hadn’t switched off against Newton.
  • In terms of finishing both have very good checkout percentages. Caven has hit over 52% of his doubles whilst Wade is over 45%.
  • This is their 11th meeting and Wade leads 7-4 on previous wins. 5 of their meetings have actually been in TV tournaments with Wade winning 4 of them.

Verdict

Caven has played very well in the opening two rounds but this test against Wade is a completely different level to his previous opponents. Wade hasn’t shone so far but he hasn’t needed to and he hasn’t shown any signs of struggling. Caven pushed van Barneveld to a deciding set in best of 7 set matches in the last two World Championships and does have the ability to take sets away from Wade. I expect Wade to win this but it won’t be easy, a Wade win 4-2 is my tip and I see a few of the sets going to a deciding leg.

 

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Lewis vs Suljovic

A Lewis v Suljovic

  • Lewis is a two time World Champion and has won 7 of his 9 matches at this stage of the World Championships previously. Suljovic has made it through to the Last 16 for only the second time, the last time was 5 years ago when he lost 4-0 to Wez Newton.
  • There has been some impressive scoring from Lewis over the opening two rounds, his tournament average is 101.5 and he has hit 14x 180’s in only 28 legs of darts. Suljovic averaged over 99 in his 1st Round match but this was over 8 points lower in the 2nd
  • Lewis has also been clinical with his finishing; he has a checkout percentage of just under 54%, Suljovic has a 41.7% success rate on his doubles through the tournament so far.
  • They have met 6 times previously and Lewis leads the head to head 5-1, including winning all of the last 5 they have played (the one Suljovic win came back in 2009). Lewis has won all 3 meetings on the TV stage and each time has gone on to reach the finals of those same tournaments. Their most recent encounter was only a month ago with Lewis comprehensively defeating Suljovic 11-1 in the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals.

Verdict

Lewis sent out a statement with his performance in the 2nd Round against Gilding averaging 103.5 (it was over 108 after the first 2 sets). He has excellent pedigree in this tournament, looks focused and confident and will take some beating. Suljovic has had a slow start to both of his matches so far (even in winning the 1st set against Pallett he only averaged 90), he cannot afford the same against Lewis as was proven in their last meeting when Lewis romped away for a 11-1 victory. Suljovic has an excellent competitive mentality and can stick in matches but he can’t let Lewis establish a lead. I’m expecting another strong start from Adrian Lewis and although Suljovic may rally a little I can’t see him stopping Lewis going through to another World Championship quarter-final.

 

Anderson vs van der Voort

G Anderson v van der Voort

  • Anderson is the defending champion and has been to the final on one other occasion; van der Voort has been as far as the quarter-finals twice (including last year).
  • Anderson has averaged over 99 in both of his matches so far, scoring heavier than the 95 tournament average of van der Voort.
  • Vincent van der Voort has the superior tournament checkout percentage having better finishing numbers than Anderson in both matches.
  • Anderson leads the head to head win record 7-2 but the 2 wins for van der Voort did come during their last 5 meetings. Their most significant match was their most recent when Anderson defeated van der Voort 11-7 in the semi-finals of the 2014 Players Championship Finals, Anderson led that match 10-3 before van der Voort responded with 4 ton plus checkouts in a row.

Verdict

Anderson has looked in good form over his opening two matches, especially in his Last 32 win over Gurney when he was put under a lot of pressure and a 4-1 win was flattering, van der Voort came from 2-0 behind against Kyle Anderson in the Last 32, eventually winning 10 of the last 13 legs. Vincent van der Voort showed last year against Taylor he can compete over this distance to a high standard. Anderson looks determined to keep hold of his title as long as he can and I think he will just get over the line in a tight match.

 

van Gerwen vs van Barneveld

van Gerwen  v van Barneveld

  • Both players have won World Championships before so no lack of experience of going deep in the tournament, both were losing semi-finalists at last year’s World Championships.
  • MVG averaged over 109 in the Last 32 and 99 in the opening round, whilst RVB’s average of 94.63 against Bunting is his tournament best so far.
  • MVG also has a very impressive checkout percentage of over 60% for the tournament; van Barneveld is just under 37% on his doubles over the opening two rounds.
  • As you would expect they have met plenty of times previous, van Gerwen leads the head to head 23-15 and has won 14 of their last 17 matches. Although van Barneveld has beaten van Gerwen on TV this year it is actually over 3 years since he beat him in a ranking tournament (the last time was in September 2012 at the European Championships).

Verdict

Michael van Gerwen looked in ominous form during his win over Darren Webster in the Last 32 averaging over 109 and on that form there aren’t many if any who could stop him at the moment, you can’t easily write of van Barneveld, he has been there and done it and still has the game to do it again. It would take an extra special performance from Barney to take out van Gerwen though and the recent form of both players suggests that isn’t likely.

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