World Matchplay: Michael van Gerwen ‘no-shaking’ to the next round

The World Matchplay Darts was officially launched in Milton Keynes, England. Michael van Gerwen has taken his first hurdle on his way to the title with difficulty. Brendan Dolan was sent home in the first round.

The World Matchplay Darts is the first major dart tournament since the coronavirus outbreak. Originally, the tournament will be held in the English coastal city of Blackpool, but Milton Keynes has been chosen as a backdrop for this edition. In addition to Van Gerwen, there are four other Dutch people involved. Rob Cross is the defender.

Van Gerwen, placed as number one, started his first major tournament after the coronapauze. He alternated good legs with lesser ones, but because his Northern Irish opponent at the start of the game (up to 10 legs) was sloppy with his doubles, Mighty Mike could benefit from that and gain a quick lead.

Van Gerwen seemed dissatisfied with his game. Van Gerwen often picked his arrows from the board with no shaking. Dolan, on the other hand, began to find his doubles easier and for the second break he was able to equalize the score again (5-5).

After the second pause, Van Gerwen continued to struggle to shake off his opponent. Scoring things started to run a little better – Van Gerwen ended with an average of 99.82 – and also the doubles flew in more easily. However, Dolan kept up.

With hanging and strangling Van Gerwen took another break head start which he did not give out of his hands this time. In fact, Van Gerwen finally won with two breaks difference: 10-7. Despite the victory, Van Gerwen walked off the stage after his victory, not-shaking.

Wattimena blown away

The first of the five Dutch to take action was Jermaine Wattimena. He took on Krzysztof Ratajski. The Machine Gun immediately broke his Polish opponent, but he could not cash it in his own turn. Ratajski, the number 13 of the Order of Merit (world ranking), picked up a lot after the rebreak and threw himself into an increasingly rigorous lead. He did not give the Polish Eagle (gem. 107.53) any more (10-4). The average of Wattimena was well below a hundred: 96.47.

Results and programme round 1 (first to 10 legs)

Saturday 18 July

Simon Whitlock – Ryan Joyce 10-4
Krzysztof Ratajski – Jermaine Wattimena 10-4
James Wade – Keegan Brown 12-10
Michael van Gerwen – Brendan Dolan 10-7
Gary Anderson – Justin Pipe 10-5

Sunday 19 July

Mensur Suljovic – Jamie Hughes
Glen Durrant – Jeffrey the Swan
Rob Cross – Gabriel Clemens
Peter Wright – Jose de Sousa
Michael Smith – Jonny Clayton

Monday 20 July

Dave Chisnall – Vincent van der Voort
Ian White – Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney – Ricky Evans
Gerwyn Price – Danny Noppert
Adrian Lewis – Steve Beaton

Tuesday 21 July

Nathan Aspinall – Dimitri van den Bergh

Results and programme round 2

Tuesday 21 July

Smith/Clayton – Suljovic/Hughes
Anderson – Wade
Van Gerwen – Whitlock
Cross/Clemens – Ratajski

Wednesday 22 July

Gurney/Evans – Chisnall/Van der Voort
Aspinall/Van den Bergh – White/Cullen
Wright/The Sousa – Durrant/The Swan
Price/Noppert – Lewis/Beaton