Betfred World Matchplay Day Two: White Whitewash, Wade Wonderland and Defiant Durrant
The second day of the World Matchplay hosted eight tungsten tussles which saw the shocks and drama which have become commonplace at the Winter Gardens.
The biggest shock of the day came in the second match as German superstar Max Hopp eliminated the power-scoring Dave Chisnall despite being 7-4 and 9-8 down.
It was ultimately missed doubles which decided Chisnall’s fate as he had darts to win the last three legs which he lost.
Krzysztof Ratajski opened the day with Darren Webster, but it was the Demolition Man who would see his title hopes destroyed in a scrappy 10-5 affair.
The first whitewash in the World Matchplay since 2016 took place in the afternoon session as an out-of-sorts Joe Cullen was punished by an impeccable White. Ten missed darts at double would lead to Cullen’s demise who couldn’t build on his previous years strong showing.
In what was many pundits ‘tie of the round’; Jamie Hughes ran out of steam against a charitable Michael Smith who was proudly advertising his support for an autism awareness charity on a one-off shirt. Hughes took a 6-4 lead but would lose six of the next seven legs as Smith turned his performance up a gear.
The evening session opened with another Winter Gardens classic as last years overachiever Jeffrey de Zwaan was beaten in a last leg decider by former winner James Wade. The Dutchman averaged many points less than his English opponent for large parts of the match but still managed to yield five match darts for himself.
A match which dampened the mood of the Blackpool crowd was Suljovic’s coast to victory over Jermaine Wattimena 10-1. It was always going to be hard to follow the previous encounter but Wattimena’s perceived lack of effort after finding himself many legs behind led to an unsavory affair.
The world number one was the penultimate match as Michael van Gerwen swept aside the veteran Steve Beaton despite averaging less than 90 for most of the match. It was MvG’s 27 missed darts at double in sixteen legs which contributed to the below par performance.
As one world champion left the stage, another would enter as Glen Durrant ended the night with his first-round clash against Adrian Lewis. Jackpot rallied many times during the contest, but the three-time Lakeside champion was just too strong and consistent to handle.
In what was arguably the best performance of the tournament so far, van Gerwen will certainly have to improve if he wants to compete against Duzza.