Cross and Suljovic face off (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
A further eight First Round ties comprise the line-up at the 2019 World Grand Prix on Monday as a host of in-form stars collide on the Emerald Isle.
The opening night produced no notable upsets, but drama aplenty, with Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Ian White and Mervyn King all recovering from a set down to edge through.
With just eight players seeded in the draw as opposed to the traditional 16, a number of big names have been pitted together in Round One, including Premier League pair Rob Cross and Mensur Suljovic.
Arguably the stand-out tie of the opening round, World Matchplay champion Cross aims to secure his first win on this stage at the third attempt, but faces a formidable task against a player who revels in the the double start format.
Cross has reached at least the Semi-Final stage in his last four televised tournaments, while Suljovic boasts an impressive record of three Semi-Final appearances in Dublin since 2015.
The winner of that closely-matched contest is guaranteed another gruelling battle, with either Glen Durrant or Krzysztof Ratajski waiting in the wings later in the week.
Deadly debutants Durrant and Ratajski meet for the first time in a PDC major, with their only previous televised enounter coming in the 2017 World Masters – when the Pole went on to lift the title.
Ratajski enters this event in a sensational vein of form, having won the Gibraltar Trophy last weekend and gone on to finish runner-up in Friday’s Players Championship event.
Durrant, who could climb into the world’s top 32 by the end of the week, lost in Saturday’s ProTour final but already has two PDC titles to his name this year, as well as that memorable run to the Semi-Finals of the World Matchplay in July.
Another mouth-watering clash sees heavy-hitters Gerwyn Price and Dave Chisnall go head-to-head, with both looking to continue their blistering recent run of form.
Sixth seed Price claimed Friday’s ProTour title to follow up last month’s International Open success and take his tally for the season to four, while Chisnall landed a nine-dart finish en route to the final in Gibraltar last weekend, immediately finding his range with his new darts.
Chisnall enjoyed a fine run to the final here in 2013 before being whitewashed by Phil Taylor in the final, while Price’s best run came 12 months ago when he reached the Quarter-Finals.
A ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ match-up sees 2010 Grand Prix runner-up Adrian Lewis take on Dutch World Cup star Jermaine Wattimena, with ‘Jackpot’ bidding to make it four wins from four over the player now ranked just three places beneath him.
World number 13 Jonny Clayton looks to maintain his dominant head-to-head record over world number 17 Stephen Bunting when the duo face off in the opening match of the evening.
Clayton has won five of his six previous meetings with ‘The Bullet’ – who has lost in the opening round of three of his last four Grand Prix appearances since reaching the Semi-Finals on debut in 2014.
UK Open and US Masters champion Nathan Aspinall begins his bid for a third televised title of a breakthrough year with a tie against crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort.
Aspinall’s astonishing rise is underlined by the fact he is making his debut here as the world number 12 and the Stockport star will be keen to produced his best form on the big occasion once again.
Van der Voort returns to the line-up for the first time since 2015 – when he reached the Quarter-Finals – his most recent run to the Last Eight of a TV major.
Peter Wright embarked on a roller-coaster run to last year’s final before finishing runner-up to Michael van Gerwen and looks to rekindle his love affair with this venue by overcoming German number one Max Hopp.
Wright famously came from three sets down to defeat Mensur Suljovic 4-3 in last year’s Semi-Finals and will enter his clash against Hopp high in confidence having won five of their six previous meetings.
Hopp’s sole success against ‘Snakebite’ came in the 2018 German Open – a tournament he famously went on to win – though he has struggled to establish the required consistency to challenge for titles so far this season.
Daryl Gurney, whose career highlight to date came here two years ago when he secured his first major title, makes the short trip from Northern Ireland to face Dutch ace Danny Noppert.
Gurney put up a solid title defence last year, eventually falling at the Semi-Final stage, and will look to press home his experience over this format against the former Lakeside finalist – who is making only his second appearance in this prestigious event.
The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of three sets (best of five legs per set).
World Grand Prix 2019 Match Schedule
Monday October 7
7.15pm Stephen Bunting v Jonny Clayton
7.45pm Vincent van der Voort v Nathan Aspinall
8.15pm Adrian Lewis v Jermaine Wattimena
8.45pm Glen Durrant v Krzysztof Ratajski
9.15pm Daryl Gurney v Danny Noppert
9.45pm Gerwyn Price v Dave Chisnall
10.15pm Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic
10.45pm Peter Wright v Max Hopp