Michael van Gerwen kicked off his bid for a third World Matchplay title with a hard-fought victory over Steve Beaton to set up a second-round showdown against Glen Durrant, who eased past Adrian Lewis on his Blackpool debut.
Van Gerwen suffered a shock 10-6 defeat against Jeffrey de Zwaan in the opening round 12 months ago and the three-time world champion had not been performing at the peak of his powers prior to this event.
He was unconvincing against Beaton, but he now faces a second-round showdown against Durrant, as the PDC and BDO world champions collide.
‘Duzza’ eased past 2013 finalist Adrian Lewis on his Winter Gardens debut, while 2007 champion James Wade survived five match darts to edge out Jeffrey de Zwaan in a classic.
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July 21, 2019, 7:30pm
Last year’s finalist Mensur Suljovic cruised through to round two, while Darren Webster and Dave Chisnall became the latest seeded casualties to exit.
Elsewhere, Ian White humbled 2018 quarter-finalist Joe Cullen, as World Championship finalist Michael Smith impressed against another debutant Jamie Hughes.
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Steve Beaton
Van Gerwen gives his reaction after his win over Steve Beaton in their match at the World Matchplay
Van Gerwen missed 28 darts at double in a profligate display against Beaton – who was appearing in his 20th World Matchplay, but the World No 1 battled through with a 93 average.
‘The Green Machine’ eased into a 4-0 lead despite his sluggish start, but ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ rallied to win four of the next five legs to reduce the arrears to 5-4.
Van Gerwen restored his two-leg cushion with a 14-dart break, before firing in a majestic 10-darter after the interval to extend his cushion to 7-4.
The next three legs went with throw as Beaton cut the gap to 8-6, but ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ missed a couple of opportunities at the bull to break MVG and the Dutchman fired in legs of 13 and 14 darts to seal his progression.
Glen Durrant 10-4 Adrian Lewis
Durrant was clinical in the doubling department on his Matchplay debut
The pair exchanged 14-dart holds to kick off proceedings, but Durrant established a commanding 4-1 cushion at the interval, courtesy of a clinical 101 kill.
Lewis hammered in back-to-back maximums en route to an 11-darter on his return, but for the second straight session, Durrant reeled off the next four legs to lead 8-2, with ‘Jackpot’ missing a multitude of opportunities in the crucial ninth leg.
The Stoke-on-Trent-ace registered six maximums but only produced the odd moment of magic which was not sufficient against a relentless Durrant, who averaged 101.05 and converted 53 per cent of his attempts at double.
The three-time Lakeside champion spurned a match dart at the bull for a 10-3 victory but Lewis’ reprieve was short-lived, as Durrant closed out an emphatic debut win with a 14-darter on tops.
James Wade 13-12 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Wade fired in a sublime 160 checkout in the first leg of the match
Wade survived five match darts as he edged out last year’s semi-finalist De Zwaan in a sudden-death thriller.
The 2007 champion drew first blood with a spectacular 160 checkout, but De Zwaan responded with three straight legs, including finishes of 76 and 119.
The Dutchman extended his lead to 6-3 before spurning three at double for a four-leg buffer and in typical Wade fashion, ‘The Machine’ punished this error with a 116 checkout to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Wade survived five match darts to edge out De Zwaan in a sudden-death thriller.
De Zwaan recovered to lead 9-6 before squandering three match darts across two legs as Wade levelled to force a tie-break, although the left-hander spurned a match dart of his own in the 22nd leg.
‘The Black Cobra’ produced a stunning 11-darter to break throw and lead 12-11 but for the third time in the contest he failed to serve it out, missing two more match darts at tops as Wade forced a decider, which he took with a nerveless 80 finish.
Mensur Suljovic 10-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Suljovic threatened a nine-darter in his emphatic opening round win against Jermaine Wattimena
Suljovic will face Wade for a place in the quarter-finals after closing out a comprehensive 10-1 victory over Wattimena, who has now lost six successive games against the Austrian.
‘The Gentle’ won the opening three legs without reply, before Wattimena opened his account via double 16.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman struggled for consistency throughout and Suljovic won the next seven legs, firing in six perfect darts in leg eight, to prevail with a 96.76 average and 56 per cent on the doubles.
Michael Smith 10-7 Jamie Hughes
Smith sealed victory with a spectacular 130 checkout
Smith produced a sensational comeback from 6-3 down to defeat debutant Hughes, winning seven of the last eight legs to triumph in a high-quality contest.
‘Yozza’ showed no sign of debut nerves as he opened up proceedings with a 12-dart hold before racing into a 4-1 lead at the first interval.
The Tipton ace then produced a stunning 128 outshot to establish a 6-3 cushion, but Smith registered 11 and 12 dart legs during an inspired spell as he reeled off five legs without reply to lead 8-6.
Hughes stopped the rot briefly to reduce the arrears to the solitary leg, but ‘Bully Boy’ landed checkouts of 120 and 130 to seal his progression, as he bids to reach the quarter-finals in Blackpool for the first time in his career.
Max Hopp 11-9 Dave Chisnall
Hopp becomes the first German in PDC history to win a game at the World Matchplay
Hopp fought back from 7-4 down against Chisnall to claim his first-ever win on the Winter Gardens stage, despite Chisnall landing ten maximums in a thrilling affair.
The German converted a fine 128 outshot en route to claiming an early 3-2 advantage, but Chisnall produced a blistering spell to win five of the next six legs, firing in two 11-dart legs in the process.
Hopp exploited three misses from Chisnall with a key 96 finish in a run of four straight legs as he edged 8-7 up, before holding his nerve with a critical 100 checkout to level at nine-all to force a dramatic tie-break.
Chisnall spurned six clear darts at double in an error-strewn 19th leg before wiring double 10 for a 128 skin-saver moments later, as Hopp sank double five to prevail in an epic and set up a last-16 tie against Smith.
Ian White 10-0 Joe Cullen
Ian White produced a classy 121 finish en route to victory
White secured the first whitewash at the World Matchplay since 2016 after completing a 10-0 demolition job against last year’s quarter-finalist Cullen.
‘The Diamond’ fired in three maximums in the opening two legs before capitalising on missed opportunities from ‘The Rockstar’ to lead 5-0 at the first interval.
White – who has claimed two European Tour titles in 2019, produced an effortless 121 finish in leg seven to continue the procession, before punishing seven further misses from Cullen in the next two legs to move to the brink of victory.
The Stoke-on-Trent ace then wrapped up the whitewash with a clinical 80 kill on tops, as he continues his bid to reach a first televised PDC semi-final.
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-5 Darren Webster
Ratajski has now won both of his televised meetings against Webster
Ratajski made a winning start on his World Matchplay debut after reeling off five consecutive legs to defeat Webster in the afternoon’s curtain-raiser.
Ratajski opened up an early 3-1 cushion but ‘The Demolition Man’ produced a brilliant 105 checkout to restore parity at three apiece, before the next five legs all went with throw.
‘The Polish Eagle’ capitalised on three missed darts from Webster in leg 12 to establish a two-leg advantage, before winning the next three legs without reply to set up a second-round showdown against world No 2 Rob Cross.
Follow every dart from every session in Blackpool as the World Matchplay continues through to the final on Sunday, July 28.