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World Series Finals 2020 Day Two preview and order of play: Seeds enter the fray in Salzburg

Jamie Shaw in World Series Finals 19 Sep 2020
Durrant and MVG renew their rivalry (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The top eight seeds kick off their 2020 World Series Finals campaigns at the Second Round stage in Salzburg on Saturday.

The opening night of the 24-player invitational featured a series of comebacks and shock results, with the likes of Ian White, Dave Chisnall and Joe Cullen all bowing out.

The World Series Finals is the first PDC event to feature a live crowd since March and the Salzburgarena is set to welcome a limited capacity 1,500-strong contingent on Day Two.

Michael van Gerwen has won four of the five previous stagings of this competition and begins his latest title defence with a clash against rival Glen Durrant.

Durrant recently ended MVG’s seven-year spell of finishing top of the Premier League table, claiming a win and a draw from their two meetings in Milton Keynes.

Van Gerwen, however, recorded a first win over Duzza at the fifth attempt during last week’s Autumn Series, having reverted back to his trusted old setup.

Durrant battled back from behind to defeat World Matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh 6-3 in Round One on Friday and will look to catch the Dutchman cold in a bid to continue his impressive head-to-head record.

James Wade is the only other player to have lifted this title, having done so two years ago, and ‘The Machine’ starts out against Canadian number one Jeff Smith.

Wade claimed his most recent televised title in this event in November 2018 but has since gone on to win six Players Championship events, including one in the Summer Series this year.

He faces a tricky opener against the former Lakeside finalist, who pulled off a terrific comeback from 5-1 down to deny Fallon Sherrock in a last-leg decider on Friday, surviving four match darts in the process.

Reigning World Champion Peter Wright looks to avoid a potential banana skin at the hands of in-form Australian Damon Heta.

Both players picked up a title in the Autumn Series, with Heta opening his account as a PDC Tour Card holder, following on from last year’s Brisbane Masters triumph.

World number two Wright is looking to add this title to his World Championship and Masters successes this year and will relish returning to action in front of a sellout crowd.

Krzysztof Ratajski ended home hopes with an emphatic display on Day One as he defeated Mensur Suljovic 6-3 with a 99.7 average and high checkouts of 144 and 141.

The Polish ace, who reached the final of an Autumn Series event last week, now comes up against former world finalist Michael Smith in the final match of the evening.

Smith heads to Salzburg off the back of a disappointing Autumn Series and having also missed out on a place in the Premier League play-offs.

The world number four defeated Ratajski 16-13 in the Quarter-Finals of this year’s World Matchplay and will be eyeing a confidence boosting victory here to get him back on track.

World number three Gerwyn Price aims to pick up from where he left off in the Autumn Series as he faces fans’ favourite Vincent van der Voort.

Price claimed back-to-back Players Championship titles in Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday and heads across the border in a rich vein of form.

Prior to the resumption of the Premier League, the Welshman had reached at least the Semi-Final stage of four of his last six televised tournaments.

Van der Voort, meanwhile, took advantage of an out of sorts Joe Cullen to storm to a 6-0 whitewash and looks to have continued the resurgent form which led him to the Quarter-Finals of July’s World Matchplay.

Former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall opens up against Lithuanian ace Darius Labanauskas, with ‘The Asp’ out to continue his fine form on the big stage.

Aspinall secured a place in next month’s Premier League play-offs on an emotional final night of the regular season and is now looking to register a first win in this event at the second attempt.

Labanauskas, a World Championship quarter-finalist last December, began with a comfortable 6-2 win over Harry Ward but will look to raise his game accordingly here.

Three-time major champion Rob Cross aims to kick-start a much-needed resurgence at the business end of the season by overcoming darting stalwart Steve Beaton.

Cross has endured a tough season so far, surrendering his World Matchplay title at the first hurdle before being eliminated from the Premier League at the halfway stage.

The world number five has changed darts and will be desperate to record his first televised win since the UK Open six months ago.

Beaton, who came through the Tour Card holder qualifier last week, held his nerve to edge out Simon Whitlock in a tense decider in Round One.

The 1996 Lakeside World Champion has won both of his previous televised encounters with Cross, both of which coming at the World Grand Prix.

Daryl Gurney is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing Premier League campaign which saw him finish bottom of the Phase Two table, and ‘Superchin’ starts out against New Zealand’s Cody Harris.

Harris pulled off one of the most notable wins of his career when he knocked out a below-par Dave Chisnall on Friday and will now be eyeing another significant top 16 scalp.

The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.


World Series Finals 2020 Match Schedule

Saturday September 19

Second Round

7.00pm James Wade v Jeff Smith
7.30pm Nathan Aspinall v Darius Labanauskas
8.00pm Daryl Gurney v Cody Harris
8.30pm Gerwyn Price v Vincent van der Voort
9.00pm Rob Cross v Steve Beaton
9.30pm Peter Wright v Damon Heta
10.00pm Michael van Gerwen v Glen Durrant
10.30pm Michael Smith v Krzysztof Ratajski