The Darts World Matchplay betting was blown wide open in a huge upset on the opening night at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens as the world number one and odds-on pre-tournament favourite, Michael van Gerwen was knocked out by countryman Jeffrey De Zwaan.
With 15 victories for 2018 so far, Mighty Mike had been aiming to win his third World Matchplay title , including the Darts Premier League and the Masters. Unfortunately for MVG, he fell one victory short after losing 10-6 to JDZ, who also beat MVG in the third round of the UK Open. As a result, every player has seen their odds slashed for glory, with Gary Anderson now Betway’s favourite at 11/4 while Rob Cross is 4/1 and Peter Wright now at 13/2.
With the game tied at 6-6, 22-year-old De Zwaan — ranked 68 in the world — reeled off the final four legs to set the Winter Gardens atmosphere alight. In doing so, he set up a second round clash with Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis, who eliminated James Wilson 10-8 earlier in the opening match of the night. A one-time finalist here, Lewis — 12/1 for the outright win — began strongly, taking the opening two legs before Wilson fought back to lead 7-3. Two-time world champion Lewis then dug deep to get back in the match and closed to within a leg of victory at 9-8 before landing a superb 116 finish and secure his place in the second round.
Other Matchplay action
Elsewhere, Premier League runner-up Michael SmithJonny Clayton 10-6 in the last match of the night. Bully Boy, fresh from claiming the Shanghai Darts Masters title, was averaging 10 points more than Clayton, but was only leading by 7 legs to 6 before winning the final three legs to set up an intriguing tie with Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall in round two. Chizzy was the 10-4 winner in his match against Keegan Brown.
On the Sunday, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross both reached the second round comfortably. The Matchplay title has always eluded The Flying Scotsman but after MVG’s elimination a night before, Anderson must surely now fancy his chances. He opened up against Stephen ‘Bullet’ Bunting, who was ahead 5-3 at one point, only for the two-time world champion to win six of the next seven legs to move to the brink of victory. The Bullet pulled a leg back but Anderson, who averaged 97.48, won the final leg to take the tie. He will now meet Raymond van Barneveld after beating Kyle Anderson 10-6 in Sunday’s final match.
World champion Rob ‘Voltage’ Cross, the tournament’s second favourite, brushed aside Mervyn King 10-5, recording the highest average of the tournament so far with 98.58 to set up a second round clash with Darren Webster. Last week we told you to keep an eye on two-time quarter-finalist Mensur Suljovic. Well, he is still going strong and recorded his first win over Steve Beaton in nine attempts with a 10-6 victory. Betway have The Big Gentle priced at 12/1 for an outright tournament victory.
One player not making it through to the second round is Gerwyn Price who was thrashed 10-3 by Joe Cullen, the highest ranked non-seeded player heading into the tournament. Cullen now meets 18/1 shot Daryl Gurney who is safely through following his 12-10 comeback victory over Steve West.
Peter Wright nailed a 170 checkout as he swept aside Jelle Klaasen 10-5 in a match where Snakebite opened up a 6-1 lead but then hobbled over the finish line as his Dutch rival showed resistance. He now plays Kim Huybrechts on Wednesday night when James Wade will also be meeting Simon Whitlock, while Mensur Suljovic goes against Ian White and Rob Cross meets Darren Webster.
World Matckplay Betting Tips
As for tonight, the fixtures and their Betway prices look like this:
- (21/10) Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith (4/11)
- (8/13) Daryl Gurney v Joe Cullen (13/10)
- (21/10) Jeffrey De Zwaan v Adrian Lewis (4/11)
- (30/100) Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld (5/2)
It is also definitely worth taking note of the following price boost; Smith, Gurney, Lewis and Anderson all to win, now 4/1 from 3/1.