The Second Round of the 2021 World Matchplay commences at the Winter Gardens on Tuesday as a host of in-form…
The Second Round of the 2021 World Matchplay commences at the Winter Gardens on Tuesday as a host of in-form hopefuls aim to continue their title charge.
The opening round saw three seeded players sent packing, while no match required a tie break for the first time since 2016.
Two previous winners of this prestigious title return to action on Tuesday evening, while a further three players are featuring at this stage of the competition for the first time.
Dimitri van den Bergh remains unbeaten in the Betfred World Matchplay, having claimed glory on his debut 12 months ago, and the Belgian ace steps up the defence of his title against ninth seed Dave Chisnall.
Van den Bergh marked his debut appearance on the Blackpool stage with a comfortable 10-5 victory over Devon Petersen in Round One but will be braced for a much tougher test from a player with proven Matchplay pedigree.
Chisnall has reached the Quarter-Finals in five of his seven previous appearances at the Winter Gardens and began his latest campaign with a 10-8 defeat of Vincent van der Voort.
Chisnall defeated Van den Bergh by four sets to two in the Last 16 of the World Championship last December in a match which saw both players average above 100, and a similarly high quality encounter is anticipated here.
Rob Cross was the last player to lift the prestigious Phil Taylor Trophy at the Winter Gardens two years ago and continues his latest quest with a tie against debutant Callan Rydz.
Cross defeated Michael Smith 18-13 in the 2019 final to become only the ninth different winner of the event and began strongly upon his Blackpool return by defeating Ross Smith with a 100.2 average.
The number five seed now takes on 23-year-old Rydz – the youngest and lowest ranked player left standing in the competition.
Rydz battled his way to a 10-6 victory over an out of sorts Glen Durrant in an epic struggle on Sunday afternoon, with an average of just 82 sufficient to get him over the line.
The Tyneside thrower is already set to climb six places in the Order of Merit to 48th and will now be eyeing an improved performance in a bid to pull off a considerable scalp.
The stand-out match of the night features an all-Welsh show-down between World Cup winning team-mates Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton.
The duo paired up to deliver glory for Wales last November, a victory which arguably sparked Clayton’s remarkable rise to becoming a major champion.
Since then, Clayton has gone on to win The Masters and the Premier League at the first attempt, as well as two Players Championship titles in an incredible season so far.
The Ferret had previously failed to win a match in this event but ended that drought by dispatching Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-7 on Saturday night.
Price is out to make up for lost time having been forced to miss the Premier League due to a positive Covid test pre-tournament and is eyeing an illustrious double to back up his World Championship triumph in January.
The world number one ended a run of four consecutive First Round exits at the Matchplay by thrashing Jermaine Wattimena 10-4 on opening night and is now bidding to reach a first Quarter-Final here since his debut in 2015.
Elsewhere, UK Open finalist Luke Humphries aims to extend his impressive debut campaign in Blackpool by seeing off 13th seed Krzysztof Ratajski.
Humphries marked his arrival onto the Winter Gardens stage with an emphatic 10-3 rout of 2007 champion James Wade to avenge his defeat to ‘The Machine’ in March’s UK Open final.
The former World Youth Champion has twice reached the Quarter-Finals of the World Championship in recent years and now aims to add the Matchplay to that list in a wide open second quarter of the draw.
Ratajski came into this event having suffered seven First Round exits on the ProTour this season but returned to form by defeating Brendan Dolan 10-4 with a superb 101.5 average.
The Polish ace is looking to make it back-to-back Quarter-Final appearances at the World Matchplay, having also reached the Last Eight of the World Championship and UK Open this season.
The action gets under way from 7pm BST, with Second Round ties to be contested over the best of 21 legs.
All matches must be won by two clear legs, with a match being extended if necessary for a maximum of six extra legs before a sudden death leg is required.
Betfred World Matchplay 2021 Day Four Schedule
Tuesday July 20
7.15pm Rob Cross v Callan Rydz
8.15pm Luke Humphries v Krzysztof Ratajski
9.15pm Gerwyn Price v Jonny Clayton
10.15pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dave Chisnall