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Players Championship Finals 2020 Day One preview and order of play: Round One commences in Coventry

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Players Championship Finals 2020 Day Two preview and order of play: Moving day at the Ricoh Arena

Zonneveld shocks Wade as Ratajski, Gurney and Durrant also crash out in Players Championship Finals opener

Jamie Shaw in Players Championship Finals 28 Nov 2020
Dutch Niels Zonneveld celebrates (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Niels Zonneveld enjoyed the biggest win of his career so far by dumping out James Wade on Day One of the Players Championship Finals in Coventry on Friday.

The opening day 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.

Zonneveld, who reached the Semi-Finals of the recent World Youth Championship, marked a dream debut with a 6-3 scalp of Tuesday’s Grand Slam runner-up Wade.

The Dutch left-hander clinched victory in style with a stunning 122 checkout on the bull is now through to the Last 32 of a televised event for the first time.

Meanwhile, 2018 champion Daryl Gurney also crashed out at the first hurdle as he went down 6-2 to in-form youngster Callan Rydz on Stage Two.

Premier League champion Glen Durrant’s barren run of results continues after he was beaten 6-3 by former World Championship semi-finalist Wayne Jones – who averaged 100 in a strong display.

Krzysztof Ratajski was made to pay for 14 missed darts at doubles as Czech debutant Karel Sedlacek helped himself to a shock 6-4 success.

Gary Anderson fought back from 4-1 down with five consecutive legs to avert an early exit at the hands of former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown.

There was also relief for world number four Michael Smith as he denied a stunning 107.8 average from Croatia’s Boris Krcmar to prevail 6-5 with a 100.2 average.

Smith landed crucial pressure finishes of 142 and 145 as he averted a third defeat to the PDC newcomer this season.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen launched his title defence with a comfortable 6-3 win over Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas.

The world number one continued his return to form with an average of 103.3, missing just one double attempt on his way to victory.

Van Gerwen will now face Jonny Clayton in the second round after the Welsh World Cup winner defeated Mickey Mansell 6-2.

“I’m starting to be more consistent again and the ton plus averages are coming back,” said Van Gerwen.

“I know this year has not been good for me but I understand I need to do things differently and I am starting to do the right things at the right moments.

“I was gutted after losing to Simon [Whitlock] in the Grand Slam, I felt phenomenal then to hurt yourself that much is not in your favour.”

Number one seed Peter Wright enjoyed a perfect night on the doubles, hitting all six of his attempts at the outer ring to defeat Ryan Meikle is a deciding leg.

Meikle took out 167 to force a last-leg shoot-out but, the World Champion broke throw in the final leg to set up a second round tie with Simon Whitlock.

The Australian ace, a semi-finalist in the recent Grand Slam at the same venue, progressed with a 6-4 win over Adrian Lewis which saw him landed six 180s.

World number three Gerwyn Price will face Jamie Hughes on Saturday after the pair recorded 6-2 wins over John Henderson and Ricky Evans respectively.

Rob Cross and Joe Cullen will face-off in Round Two after the pair secured comfortable 6-3 wins against Jason Lowe and Adam Hunt and respectively.

Cross averaged just under 100 en route to victory, while Cullen scored a second win over Adam Hunt in as many weeks, repeating the result at the Grand Slam.

Premier League runner-up Nathan Aspinall will take on Ross Smith in the second round on Saturday after surviving five match darts in a dramatic deciding leg against Scott Waites.

Newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa continued his winning run on the Coventry stage with a 6-3 defeat of Belgium’s Mike De Decker.

An average of 97 was enough for the Portuguese sensation, who received a video message from Jose Mourinho earlier in the week.

Man of the moment De Sousa will now take on Vincent van der Voort after he defeated fellow Dutchman Derk Telnekes 6-2.

Former World Matchplay quarter-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan safely saw off Darren Webster 6-3, while Ross Smith booked his place in the Last 32 with a thumping 6-1 win over Kim Huybrechts.

World Grand Prix runner-up Dirk van Duijvenbode continued his impressive run of form as he dispatched Ireland’s William O’Connor 6-4.

Ian White and Gabriel Clemens will be first to take to the main stage on Saturday after White defeated William Borland 6-4 and Gabriel Clemens overcame Martijn Kleermaker in a decider.

World Youth Champion Luke Humphries pulled off an impressive 6-3 win over in-form Devon Petersen with a 99.6 average.

Jermaine Wattimena will be Humphries’ opponent in Round Two after a superb 103 average put Irish ace Steve Lennon to the sword 6-1.

World Matchplay Champion Dimitri van den Bergh slipped to a rare First Round defeat as Ryan Searle secured a 6-2 victory to set up a clash with Rydz.

Mervyn King averaged 105 in his high quality victory over Dave Chisnall, prevailing 6-3 winner with one of the stand-out performances of the day.

King now takes on Danny Noppert after the former World Series Finals runner-up averaged 100 in his 6-1 rout of Steve Beaton.

Damon Heta continued his fine run of form with a routine 6-1 win over Maik Kuivenhoven and will face Ryan Murray in round two after the Scot recovered from 3-1 down to beat Stephen Bunting 6-4.

Luke Woodhouse and Andy Boulton will face off in round two after 6-4 wins over Brendan Dolan and Ryan Joyce respectively.

Saturday sees the Second Round ties take place in the afternoon session and Third Round ties in the evening session, with play continuing across two stages.


Players Championship Finals 2020 Results

Friday November 27

First Round

Afternoon Session

Main Stage
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 William O’Connor
Michael Smith 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Rob Cross 6-3 Jason Lowe
Joe Cullen 6-3 Adam Hunt
Devon Petersen 3-6 Luke Humphries
Ryan Searle 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Adrian Lewis 4-6 Simon Whitlock
Dave Chisnall 3-6 Mervyn King

Stage Two
Brendan Dolan 4-6 Luke Woodhouse
Ryan Joyce 4-6 Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting 4-6 Ryan Murray
Krzysztof Ratajski 4-6 Karel Sedlacek
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Ian White 6-3 William Borland
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Mickey Mansell
Daryl Gurney 2-6 Callan Rydz

Evening Session

Main Stage
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Scott Waites
Gary Anderson 6-4 Keegan Brown
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price 6-2 John Henderson
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Mike De Decker

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Derk Telnekes
Jamie Hughes 6-2 Ricky Evans
Ross Smith 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Damon Heta 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Steve Lennon
Madars Razma 6-3 Chris Dobey
Wayne Jones 6-3 Glen Durrant
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Darren Webster
Danny Noppert 6-1 Steve Beaton