Devon Petersen will be part of the Sky Sports team covering the 2019 PDC World Matchplay.

The South African ace joins fellow current pro Mark Webster on the punditry team for the 26th World Matchplay. Petersen has yet to make his playing bow at the Winter Gardens, but did attend last year to support Joe Cullen in his run to the quarter-finals.

“In previous years I’ve only watched it on television so sitting there and feeling the electricity that comes from the fans – you understand how close you are to the stage.

“I think it’s quite an intimate crowd so it’s just a completely different tournament and I know that a lot of players enjoy this tournament a lot more than they do others,” Petersen told Sky Sports.

Playground scrap

The competition for the World Matchplay is fiercer than ever. Michael van Gerwen, the top seed, isn’t in ideal form, while defending champion Gary Anderson is still on the way back from injury. The only other former champion in the field is James Wade. Petersen believes that he could be commentating on the crowning of a new champion.

“I think there’s no big-boy in the playground anymore,” said Petersen.

“There are debutants coming in, players who have been there for a while and out of the top five right now, only Peter Wright is really firing on all cylinders – winning Tuesday’s Players Championship and the World Series event in Germany.

“The way I foresee the Matchplay is a new name on the cup, just purely because of form and just different players performing through the year.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Petersen reckons that the multitude of winners who have already won on the Pro Tour this year makes the winner of the World Matchplay hard to call.

“We’ve seen different winners in the Players Championships, two different winners in the World Series, Nathan Aspinall winning a major, and players like Joe Cullen who hasn’t performed throughout the year but performs very well on the stage.

“I think it’s probably the most open tournament based on form, with the top players not performing as well, and the players coming in just performing at their very best, so it’s really going to be an exciting event to commentate on.

Dark horses

Petersen couldn’t be tempted to pick a specific winner. But the African star did pick out a couple of names he believes we could see in the latter stages of the tournament.

“There’s the likes of [Krzysztof] Ratajski. He’s played really well. Everybody has seen him play steady but I think with his half, he could really do some damage.

“Nathan Aspinall winning the World Series event in Las Vegas, as well as the semi-finals in the Worlds and of course he won the UK Open.

“He’s gone from strength-to-strength and made some finals in the Players Championship – if you’re looking at 12 months ago, Nathan Aspinall was a steady player and now he’s challenging for the titles, so I think those two are the stand-out outsiders.”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Ed McCosh