The 28th edition of the Betfred World Matchplay will get underway at Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Saturday evening, with a whole host of big names in action, including defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh (12/1 to win title) and world number one Gerwyn Price (5/1).
Belgian star Van den Bergh won the only major title of his career to date when beating Gary Anderson 18-10 in last year’s final and he will get his defence underway in the final match of the night against South African Devon Petersen (Van den Bergh 1/3, Petersen 23/10 – Match Betting).
The DreamMaker will be making his Winter Gardens debut after last year’s event was held at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, and he is hoping to serve up plenty of entertainment, although he knows winning is the most important thing.
“I know that me and Devon are those types of players that do a bit of entertaining before the game starts so it’s definitely going to be nice bringing some smiles to the people but as soon as the Mastercaller says ‘game on’ we’re there to do a job,” Van den Bergh told Sky Sports.
“That’s something I’ve learnt and cannot forget. I’m going to do a bit of entertaining, I’m going to give the crowd some fun and then it’s back to business.”
Reigning PDC World Champion Price will also be in action on Saturday, with the Iceman due to take on Dutch star Jermaine Wattimena (Price 1/5, Wattimena 18/5 – Match Betting).
Price has endured a disrupted build up to this year’s event, as he was forced to sit out the 2021 Premier League following a positive COVID-19 test, while he has failed to make it beyond the first round of the Betfred World Matchplay in each of the last four years.
Despite those struggles, the world number one remains in confident mood, as he goes in search of his fifth major title on the PDC Tour.
“The thing is if you start worrying about what other people are going to do that’s when you’re going to slip up,” Price told reporters.
“I know 100 per cent in my own head I’m going to win, I tend to take every game exactly the same whether I play Jermaine Wattimena, Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright, I’m going in there to perform the best I can and I can’t control anything they do. I just need to concentrate on my own game.”
There will be two other first round contests taking place on Saturday, with the opening match of the tournament seeing world number nine Dave Chisnall take on Vincent van der Voort (Chisnall 4/9, Van der Voort 7/4 – Match Betting).
Following that match, Premier League champion Jonny Clayton will get his campaign underway against Dirk van Duijvenbode, who reached the quarter finals of this year’s World Championship (Clayton 1/2, Van Duijvenbode 8/5 – Match Betting).
Source: Darts – Betfred