World Matchplay Round Two: Van Gerwen and Anderson sent packing


The Betfred World Matchplay has seen massive upsets in the second round of the competition.

The crowd certainly got their value for money on the first night of the last-16 with each game being separated by 2-3 legs. Two matches went to extra time, as well as every player putting in at least a decent performance.

World runner-up Michael Smith got the ball rolling but didn’t cruise through the German darting idol Max Hopp. The fifth seed scraped through after the German pushed him all the way, eventually breaking him in the penultimate leg to bring home a 12-10 victory.

‘The Machine’ James Wade managed to scrape through in the bookmakers tie of the round against Mensur Suljovic. The slow tactics of the Austrian didn’t faze Wade as he squeaked a 13-11 victory after a dramatic exchange.

After defeating Hopp, Smith most likely expected to be facing the ‘Flying Scotsman’ Gary Anderson. He took on the experienced Mervyn King who at 53 was the eldest player in the tournament.

Both have had back issues in recent years, but ‘The King’ showed a steel which has cemented his place in darting folklore, winning 11-8 to send Anderson packing.

Tuesday night climaxed with the shock of the tournament. Michael van Gerwen had admittedly only squeezed past Steve Beaton, whilst Glen Durrant had absolutely battered Adrian Lewis.

After ‘Duzza’ shot into an 8-4 lead and seemingly dismantling the Green machine, MVG returned to lead 9-8. Durrant immediately hit back and after a few break of throws each way, Durrant hit the winning double top to book his place against Wade. 13-11.

Wednesday began with yet another close tie resulting in two legs difference between former Grand Prix champion ‘SuperChin’ Daryl Gurney and former World Youth champion Keegan Brown. Brown looked in control after his impressive win over Jonny Clayton, but it would be the Northern Irishman who booked his place in the quarter finals. He won 11-9.

Stephen Bunting took on Ian White in possibly the game of the round next up. After trailing by five legs, the Scouser returned to win 14-12 and will take on former world champion Rob Cross in the quarters.

He looked under pressure after losing the first leg to Krystof Ratajski, but he showed his class and got into the flow when he steamrollered his way to nine consecutive legs. He came out an 11-5 winner.

There was no such dramas with Peter Wright as he looked completely zen in his win over ‘The Wizard’ Simon Whitlock. He averaged a mammoth 103.01 over thirteen legs in an 11-2 win with a 170 finish to go with it.

He even missed the treble 19 on his eight dart of a nine-dart attempt, which of course chorused boos from the crowds and chuckles from the two players. He takes on Gurney in the last eight.


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