One of the most eagerly anticipated darts events of the year is usually played at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in front of packed crowds each summer as 32 of the world’s finest darts players in the PDC compete to win the £150,000 top prize available at the World Matchplay.

The £700,000 tournament is arguably the second most prestigious title in professional darts, just behind the PDC World Championship and this year, the tournament is being contested behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from the 18th July through to the 26th July.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the players competing in the event, some of the results of the first round matches that have already been played over the weekend, plus some of the remaining first round and already decided second round ties. We will also be bringing you our verdict on who is the best player to back if you want to place a bet on the tournament winner.

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Let’s now give you a recap of the action that has already taken place at the World Matchplay this weekend, together with a preview of the forthcoming games that have already been decided in Rounds 1 and 2 of the tournament.

World Matchplay First Round

The biggest shock of what has generally been a First Round that has gone as expected was that the defending World Matchplay Champion and former World Champion Rob Cross is so far the only seed to have been eliminated from the tournament after ten of the sixteen First Round matches have been completed.

Fourth seed Cross was eliminated by the talented German star Gabriel Clemens, who also shone at the World Championships earlier in the year in what was a back and forth game that saw Clemens emerge as the 10-8 winner.

However, other than that result, so far, all the top seeds (with their rankings shown in brackets) have come through their first round tests relatively unscathed, although Mensur Suljovic was pushed hard by Jamie Hughes and James Wade was pushed equally hard in his battle with Keegan Brown.

PDC World Matchplay Round 1 Results

  • Michael van Gerwen (1) 10-7 Brendan Dolan
  • Simon Whitlock (16) 10-4 Ryan Joyce
  • Gary Anderson (8) 10-5 Justin Pipe
  • James Wade (9) 12-10 Keegan Brown
  • Rob Cross (4) 8-10 Gabriel Clemens
  • Krzysztof Ratajski (13) 10-4 Jermaine Wattimena
  • Michael Smith (5) 10-3 Jonny Clayton
  • Mensur Suljovic (12) 12-10 Jamie Hughes
  • Peter Wright (2) 10-8 Jose de Sousa
  • Glen Durrant (15) 10-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan

The remaining first round matches to be played, which will be completed across tonight and Tuesday are as follows:

  • Daryl Gurney (7) v Ricky Evans
  • Dave Chisnall (10) v Vincent van der Voort
  • Gerwyn Price (3) v Danny Noppert
  • Adrian Lewis (14) v Steve Beaton
  • Nathan Aspinall (6) v Dmitri Van den Bergh
  • Ian While (11) v Joe Cullen

Of these remaining first round ties, the seeded players are generally the best value options, although if you are looking for an outsider to win another first round tie, then Dmitri van den Bergh has the game to cause Nathan Aspinall problems and at 11/5 to win the game with bet365 Sport, van den Bergh is probably the pick of the non-seeded players remaining in the first round to progress.

Second Round Matches

The draw for the entire tournaments is based on seed position and as such, we already know the line-up for many second round matches. The draw for the second round is as follows:

  1. Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock
  2. Gary Anderson v James Wade
  3. Gabriel Clemens v Krzysztof Ratajczki
  4. Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
  5. Peter Wright v Glen Durrant
  6. Daryl Gurney/Ricky Evans v Dave Chisnall/Vincent van der Voort
  7. Gerwyn Price/Danny Noppert v Adrian Lewis/Steve Beaton
  8. Nathan Aspinall/Dmitri van den Bergh v Ian White/Joe Cullen

For the quarter finals and onwards, players that win will progress to take on the player directly below them in the draw, so for the quarterfinals, the winner of match 1 in the second round, will play the winner of match 2 and so on.

Who to back as the outright winner?

Despite this tournament not taking place at its usual venue, the event has still attracted all the top players in the PDC and rightly so as outside of the World Championship, this is the one event that all the players want to win every season.

Michael van Gerwen is the 13/8 favourite with bet365 and he is clearly the front-runner in the field although two other players, Peter Wright at 11/2 and Gerwyn Price at 13/2 are also ranked as the real contenders as outside of these three players, the next best odds available is 11/1 on Nathan Aspinall.

While van Gerwen is the pick in terms of ability and world ranking, I feel Peter Wright is arguably the form player here and as such, he is the one I would pick to claim the win here.