It’s another busy day at the World Matchplay as round one ends and round two begins in Milton Keynes.
Nathan Aspinall versus Dimitri Van den Bergh concludes the first round action, and The Asp will be hoping to avoid the same fate as Dave Chisnall, Ian White and Gerwyn Price, all of whom were dumped out on Monday evening.
Then it’s onto the second round, where Gary Anderson takes on James Wade in the pick of the action. We’ve previewed all of tonight’s top tungsten in our World Matchplay Tips.
Nathan Aspinall (2/5) v (2/1) Dimitri Van den Bergh, 18:15
Two of the sport’s hottest young properties go head-to-head in the final match of the first round, as former Ladbrokes UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall takes on Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Both players are well-regarded for not just their gameplay but their happy-go-lucky nature, and while they each possess tremendous ability, only Aspinall has been able to produce the goods on a consistent basis.
The Asp won a major in only his seventh appearance and has subsequently reached the semi-final of two TV tournaments in 2020 while holding his own in the Premier League.
Contrast that with Dancing Dimitri, who tends to save his best work for Alexandra Palace, although even there the Belgian could only reach the quarter-final before bowing out to Aspinall in 2019.
That was a fourth win in four matches for The Asp against Van den Bergh. He’s 2/5 to make that five, and after the pair served up 24 maximums in their Ally Pally ding-dong, we go 23/20 about Over 9.5 here.
Michael Smith (8/13) v (13/10) Mensur Suljovic, 19:15
This should be a right humdinger if Michael Smith and Mensur Suljovic’s first round matches are anything to go by.
Bully Boy eased past Jonny Clayton with a 10-3 victory and over 70% on his doubles, while The Gentle was involved in a tungsten tussle which went the distance against Jamie Hughes; the Austrian eventually winning out 12-10 and hitting 10 180s along the way.
Smith’s superior finishing made the difference when the pair met at the Ladbrokes Masters in January, and on the evidence of their respective first round matches, it could prove telling once again.
That match produced 11 maximums, and after dishing up 14 combined in the Matchplay so far, our traders are 13/10 for there to be Over 11.5 180s. Suljovic alone is 8/11 to provide Over 4.5 of those.
Gary Anderson (4/6) v (6/5) James Wade, 20:15
Gary Anderson was less Flying Scotsman and more Northern Rail in his first round win over Justin Pipe. The two-time world champ didn’t have to work hard for his victory and recorded a 90.59 average and a 35.71% checkout rate.
Contrast that with Wade, who battled his way to a 12-10 success over Keegan Brown with a 96.58 average and 57.14% on his doubles, and it’s clear that Ando may have something to find on The Machine tonight.
Regardless of who wins out, we’re expecting a cracker. The pair produced a 19-leg thriller over this distance in the Champions League last term and have gone the distance a couple of times against each other in recent history.
We make it a 10/21 chance that the two men provide us with Over 17.5 Legs here, and with Wade more renowned as a prolific 140 hitter, we’re also going 4/9 for Anderson to hit the Most 180s in the contest.
Michael van Gerwen (1/10) v (6/1) Simon Whitlock, 21:15
There’s good news for Simon Whitlock and there’s bad news. The good news is that Michael van Gerwen dropped seven legs in his opening round victory over Brendan Dolan, which suggests he’s there to be got at.
The bad news is that the Aussie will need to improve on his own 89.96 average and 38.48% checkout percentage in the first round against Ryan Joyce if he’s to end a run of 15 successive defeats against MVG.
While Whitlock may be capable of an improved performance, it’s difficult to see him raising his game enough to trouble the Dutchman, who is also likely to come on for his match against Dolan.
Van Gerwen doesn’t offer a lot of juice in the outright market, but he has won each of his three previous Matchplay battles against Whitlock by at least four legs. We go 4/9 about MVG on the -3.5 Leg Handicap here.
Gabriel Clemens (7/5) v (4/7) Krzysztof Ratajski, 22:15
Day 4 concludes with two of the tournament’s dark horses, as Gabriel Clemens bids to send another seed packing after his surprise victory against Rob Cross at the weekend.
The German Giant didn’t post a particularly impressive average in his victory over Voltage, but he did punish the 2019 champion on the outer ring with a 55.56% checkout rate.
He’ll need to reproduce those sorts of statistics this evening if Ratajski is in the same mood as he was against Jermaine Wattimena in the first round.
The Polish Eagle hit six maximums in a 107.53 average and landed 50% of his doubles. On that basis, he’s a worthy 4/7 favourite as looks to make it five wins from five against Clemens.
Both players showcased some exceptional finishing in their first round matches, and our traders make it an 11/10 shot that there are three or more 100+ checkouts.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication