UK Open 2019 Day Two preview and order of play: Business end begins in Minehead

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 2 Mar 2019
Dimitri van den Bergh celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2019 UK Open enters its business end in Minehead on Saturday, with the Last 32 played down to just eight in the FA Cup of Darts.

The most frenetic day on the darting calendar saw 159 players start out on Friday and 127 games whittle the field down to just 32 in the first ranking major of the season.

A clutch of big names bit the dust in the early rounds, including defending champion Gary Anderson, two-time champion Michael van Gerwen and world number three Peter Wright.

Those notable casualties have blown the tournament wide open, and with an open draw conducted after each round, all remaining players will feel they have a golden opportunity to go all the way.

Saturday's afternoon session sees the Fifth Round ties held across four stages simultaneously, with Main Stage matches televised and Stage Two ties streamed online.

The pick of the Main Stage action sees Premier League stars Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney collide as both look to keep their title quests on track.

Smith, playing through the pain barrier after an emergency operation on his groin last week, followed up his Premier League win over Raymond van Barneveld in Exeter on Thursday with a 10-5 win over John Henderson and is bidding to progress beyond the Last 16 of the UK Open for the first time.

Gurney, meanwhile, was a resounding 10-1 winner over Reece Robinson in his opener and is looking to make it back-to-back titles at Butlins Minehead following on from last November's Players Championship Finals triumph.

Mervyn King's reward for his shock scalp of MVG on Friday night is a show-down with 2018 World Champion Rob Cross.

King produced an inspired display to dump out the world number one and tournament favourite and will be keen to repeat the feat against the world number two - who dispatched Darren Webster 10-4 with a 99 average on Stage Two.

James Wade, the 2008 and 2011 UK Open champion, steps up his quest to become the outright second most successful player in the history of the competition when he faces German number one Max Hopp.

Fresh from his Premier League scalp of MVG on Thursday, Wade thrashed James Wilson 10-1 with a 100.5 average in Round Four and is now out to maintain his unbeaten record against 'The Maximiser.'

Wade has won all five of their previous meetings, including last October's European Championship Semi-Final en route to claiming the title in Germany.

World number eight Mensur Suljovic will fancy his chances of going deep in the tournament this weekend but faces a tricky test against World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh.

Suljovic, who defeated the Belgian ace in last year's German Masters final, knocked out 2017 champion Peter Wright in Round Four, while Van den Bergh whitewashed Kirk Shepherd 6-0 before seeing off Ricky Evans 10-5.

Stage Two features a mouth-watering clash between 2017 runner-up Gerwyn Price and in-form Jamie Hughes - who dropped just 11 legs in his four victories on the opening day, notably knocking out Ian White in Round Four.

Latvian ace Madars Razma enjoyed a superb opening day and aims to cause a mini upset by defeating World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall, while former European Champion Simon Whitlock looks to avert a potential banana skin against last weekend's ProTour finalist Gabriel Clemens.

Jamie Lewis produced a sensational 161 checkout in the deciding leg to edge out Adrian Lewis in Round Four and now takes on former World Youth finalist Josh Payne - who thrashed Kyle Anderson 10-2.

Steve Beaton's reward for his Fourth Round win over Gary Anderson is a Stage Three show-down with former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, while local favourite Simon Stevenson looks to follow up his giant-killing of Raymond van Barneveld with victory over Belgian star Kim Huybrechts.

Former World Masters Champion Krzysztof Ratajski takes on world number 14 Jonny Clayton in another tasty tussle, while multiple major finalist Dave Chisnall is in action on Stage Four against German number two Martin Schindler.

The action gets underway from 12.30pm GMT, with all matches contested over the best of 19 legs.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2019 Schedule

Saturday March 2

Afternoon Session (12.30pm-5pm)

Fifth Round

Main Stage
James Wade v Max Hopp
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mervyn King v Rob Cross

Stage Two
Madars Razma v Nathan Aspinall
Simon Whitlock v Gabriel Clemens
Jamie Lewis v Josh Payne
Jamie Hughes v Gerwyn Price

Stage Three
Steve Beaton v Keegan Brown
Krzysztof Ratajski v Jonny Clayton
Simon Stevenson v Kim Huybrechts
Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Woodhouse

Stage Four
Mickey Mansell v Steve Lennon
Dave Chisnall v Martin Schindler
Ross Smith v Steve West
Richard North v Cristo Reyes

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Sixth Round
Main Stage & Stage Two

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UK Open 2019 Day Two preview and order of play: Business end begins in Minehead

The 2019 UK Open enters its business end in Minehead on Saturday, with the Last 32 played down to just eight in the FA Cup of Darts.

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