Dean Winstanley v Vincent van der Voort
Dean Winstanley came through one of the most dramatic opening round matches that Alexandra Palace has ever seen. His five-set epic with Mervyn King left both players looking punch drunk as neither surrendered an inch to the other until King’s stumble in the 10th leg of the concluding epilogue.
Vincent van der Voort was, on paper, an altogether more comfortable winner, as he saw off the attentions of Stuart Kellett in straight sets. The result only told half the story, however, as both players struggled with their doubles.
A first-round win was the height of Van der Voort’s ambitions this week and now that he has achieved that he at least can relax into the tournament. Although I doubt he’ll be in London much longer. Winstanley is a top 10 player in the making, and showed both his class and grit in that first round win. At odds of 1.33 I don’t expect he’ll need to battle too much and fancy him to coast his one inside five sets. Back Winstanley -1.5 sets at odds of 1.80.
James Wade v Steve Beaton
It was nice to see James Wade throwing with some freedom in his first round clash with Pete Hudson. It was a potentially tricky opening round tie for The Machine, but a solid 91.09 three-dart average was enough to see him come home as an authoritative winner. Steve Beaton was also a 3-0 winner in his first round match, but in not quite as impressive style: he averaged only 87.54 and repeatedly gave his opponent chances to take legs and sets.
The head-to-head record is weighted extremely heavily in Wade’s favour, with the younger craftsmen winning 13 of their 15 previous meetings. Beaton is making a habit of beating opponents that are ranked below him, then faltering when he comes up against higher calibre opponents - doing enough to maintain his position in the world’s top 32, but little to improve it.
Wade has another opportunity to work himself into this tournament and I expect him to win at odds of 1.28, but not without a little workout, making Beaton +2.5 sets the best bet at 1.65.
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
There’s a little bit of needle in this match after Peter Wright dismissed the credentials of Michael van Gerwen following his first round triumph. The Dutchman responded with a smiling response along the lines of ‘wait and see’, suggesting that this is a clash that he is particularly looking forward to.
I was slightly surprised by Wright’s comments as Mighty Mike isn’t a player that you want to rile before meeting him at the oche. The youngster is a nice guy away from the board, but can dish out some brutal beatings with three arrows in his hand.
At odds of 1.15 I fully expect this to go the way of the world number 8. Van Gerwen has a 6-3 head-to-head advantage in meetings between the pair and has won the last four matches including three this year. They met on this stage four years ago in the first round and MVG won with a two-set cushion. Expect a similar result this Sunday and back Van Gerwen to win with a -2.5 handicap at odds of 1.90.
Winstanley -1.5 sets @ 1.80
Beaton + 2.5 sets @ 1.65
Van Gerwen -2.5 sets @ 1.90