The Players Championship Finals field will be whittled down from 32 players to just eight following Saturday’s action in Coventry….
The Players Championship Finals field will be whittled down from 32 players to just eight following Saturday’s action in Coventry.
Day One of the season’s penultimate major saw 32 matches held across two stages at the Ricoh Arena as a host of big names suffered early exits.
The world’s top six players, however, safely progressed through the opening round and will look to go through the gears in a bid to reach the final day of action.
The afternoon session on Saturday sees the Second Round ties held across two stages, before the format increases in the evening session for the Last 16.
The Main Stage plays host to a repeat of the 2017 final as reigning and five-time champion Michael van Gerwen faces Welsh World Cup winner Jonny Clayton.
Van Gerwen is the most successful player in the history of this competition and is looking to retain the title and end his eight-month major drought stretching back to the UK Open.
The world number one, who suffered last-leg heartbreak in the recent Grand Slam, dusted himself down to defeat Darius Labanauskas 6-3 on Friday with a 103.3 average and now faces a tricky test against the world number 17 – who averaged 101 in powering past Mickey Mansell 6-2.
Arguably the pick of the afternoon’s ties sees Premier League stars Michael Smith and Gary Anderson go head-to-head.
Despite struggling with injury, Anderson dug deep to reel off five consecutive legs from 4-1 down to defeat Keegan Brown in Round One, but knows he must improve on an average of 89 if he is to trouble the world number four.
Smith was involved in one of the stand-out matches of the opening round as he came from 2-0 down to land checkouts of 142 and 145 and average 100 to Boris Krcmar’s 107.8 in a thrilling 6-5 victory.
Newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa aims to continue his unforgettable week by booking his place in the Last 16 at the expense of Vincent van der Voort.
The Portuguese star, who received a video message from Jose Mourinho in midweek, averaged 97 in a 6-3 win over Mike De Decker and now faces a resurgent Van der Voort – who thrashed Derk Telnekes 6-2 on Stage Two.
World Grand Prix champion Gerwyn Price, last year’s runner-up in Minehead, steps up his latest title quest with a clash against Tipton ace Jamie Hughes.
World Champion Peter Wright, who has never reached the final of this competition, aims to kick on from his superb opening salvo when he faces in-form Simon Whitlock.
Wright averaged 104.8 with 100 per cent on the doubles in a 6-5 success over Ryan Meikle and now comes up against the clinical scoring power of ‘The Wizard’ – who broke the match 180s record at the Grand Slam and fired in six in Friday’s 6-4 win over Adrian Lewis.
Three-time major champion Rob Cross faces International Open winner Joe Cullen in another tasty tussle for the right to take on either world number ten Ian White or German number one Gabriel Clemens in the Last 16.
Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall survived five missed match darts from Scott Waites in Round One and now looks to seize on that reprieve when he faces 2019 UK Open quarter-finalist Ross Smith.
Stage Two includes a notable show-down between former Lakeside finalists Danny Noppert and Mervyn King – who averaged 105 in a superb opening victory over Dave Chisnall.
Czech debutant Karel Sedlacek, who knocked out fifth seed Krzysztof Ratajski in Round One, faces Latvian ace Madars Razma – who overcame Chris Dobey 6-3.
Grand Slam quarter-finalist Damon Heta looks to continue his consistent run of form by ending the hopes of Scotland’s Ryan Murray – who saw off Stephen Bunting in hs opener.
Luke Woodhouse, who battled past Brendan Dolan on Friday, returns to Stage Two to face Stoke stalwart Andy Boulton, while world number 23 Jermaine Wattimena meets 219 World Youth Champion Luke Humphries – who put out Devon Petersen on the Main Stage.
Niels Zonneveld’s reward for a superb First Round scalp of Grand Slam finalist James Wade is a clash against World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Ryan Searle aims to pick up from where he left off in defeating Dimitri van den Bergh when he comes up against in-form Tyneside youngster Callan Rydz – who dumped out 2018 champion Daryl Gurney.
Wayne Jones rolled back the years with a 100 average to defeat Premier League champion Glen Durrant on Day One and now faces Dutch ace Jeffrey de Zwaan.
The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs and Third Round ties best of 19 legs.
Players Championship Finals 2020 Schedule
Saturday November 28
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Ian White v Gabriel Clemens
Nathan Aspinall v Ross Smith
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
Joe Cullen v Rob Cross
Jose De Sousa v Vincent Van der Voort
Michael Van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price v Jamie Hughes
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Luke Woodhouse v Andy Boulton
Karel Sedlacek v Madars Razma
Ryan Searle v Callan Rydz
Damon Heta v Ryan Murray
Danny Noppert v Mervyn King
Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Humphries
Wayne Jones v Jeffrey De Zwaan
Niels Zonneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Michael Smith/Gary Anderson v De Sousa/Vincent Van der Voort
Gerwyn Price/Jamie Hughes v Jermaine Wattimena/Luke Humphries
Peter Wright/Simon Whitlock v Ryan Searle/Callan Rydz
Michael Van Gerwen/Jonny Clayton v Wayne Jones/Jeffrey De Zwaan
Ian White/Gabriel Clemens v Joe Cullen/Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall/Ross Smith v Damon Heta/Ryan Murray
Karel Sedlacek/Madars Razma v Danny Noppert/Mervyn King
Niels Zonneveld/Dirk van Duijvenbode v Luke Woodhouse/Andy Boulton