Rob Cross will begin the defence of his World Matchplay title against Gabriel Clemens on a star-studded second day of action in Milton Keynes.
Voltage is just one of several big names on Sunday’s bill, with current world champion Peter Wright, three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant and 2019 Matchplay runner-up Michael Smith also in action.
It’s sure to be another evening full of big checkouts, high averages and power scoring, and we’ve previewed each and every encounter in our World Matchplay Tips.
Mensur Suljovic (8/11) v (23/20) Jamie Hughes, 18:15
The opening match is an intriguing one, with Jamie Hughes looking to send Mensur Suljovic packing for the second TV tournament in succession.
Yozza beat Suljovic over this distance on the way to a PDC-best quarter-final appearance at the Ladbrokes UK Open in March. Now the question is whether he can do it all over again.
The Gentle hasn’t been at his best in the last 12 months but did reach the semi-final of a Summer Series event last week, which suggests we could be in for a close encounter.
Both players sit in the mid-30s for checkout percentage, and with neither player ranking as a huge power scorer, there’s a possibility we could see Over 17.5 Legs at 8/5.
Glen Durrant (4/9) v (7/4) Jeffrey de Zwaan, 19:15
These two may have different playing styles but they couldn’t be more evenly matched where the statistics are concerned, and that should ensure that this is one of the ties of the opening round.
Both players have history in the Matchplay too, with De Zwaan reaching the semi-finals in 2019 and Durrant following up with his own semi-final appearance 12 months ago.
De Zwaan is capable of the more spectacular arrows, but it’s Durrant who offers the consistency which could be required to win this contest at 4/9.
Rob Cross (8/15) v (21/10) Gabriel Clemens, 20:15
Current World Matchplay champion Rob Cross has been handed a difficult start to his title defence with a match against dark horse Gabriel Clemens, who has beaten Voltage twice in two meetings thus far.
The German Giant has established himself as the country’s number one player with a string of impressive performances including in the German Darts Masters, where he finished runner-up to Peter Wright.
He could go far into this tournament, although a lot depends on what version of Voltage turns up. His nine-darter and subsequent final appearance in the Summer Series would suggest the 29-yearr-old will be raring to go for this.
Cross is 8/15 to come out on top in a match which promises to both go the distance and produce fireworks. Our traders go 21/20 about Over 9.5 180s and 4/9 for Over 15.5 Legs.
Peter Wright (4/11) v (21/10) Jose de Sousa, 21:15
You don’t become the world champion without that little something extra. And Peter Wright may need to find that extra part of his game against an opponent in Jose de Sousa who is many people’s dark horse.
The Portuguese thrower has been quietly impressing in the floor tournaments for a couple of years now, and the behind closed-doors nature of this event may well be to his advantage.
Wright, on the other hand, is a player who feeds off the crowd, and without the familiar support from his adoring fans, the Scotsman could find things slightly tougher than normal.
Having said that, Snakebite does boast the superior quality. He should prevail at 4/11, but don’t be surprised if The Special One puts up a serious fight. De Sousa is 4/7 to win Over 6.5 Legs.
Michael Smith (8/13) v (13/10) Jonny Clayton, 22:15
The last time Michael Smith met Jonny Clayton in the first round at the World Matchplay, Bully Boy produced an average 13 points better than his opponent to win 10-6.
Our traders reckon it could be a similar tale this time around, with Smith available at 8/13 to make it through to the second round of this tournament for the third year in a row.
Last year’s runner-up was in decent nick prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and if he can regain that winning thread, he should have too much for the inconsistent Clayton.
The 29-year-old has hit six or more maximums in his last two matches over this format, and we make him a 6/5 shot to fill the lipstick on Over 5.5 occasions again here.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication