Schedule for Monday evening at 2021 World Matchplay including Van Gerwen and Anderson
We've now lost two seeds from the World Matchplay, with James Wade and Glen Durrant now able to focus on soaking up the Blackpool sun. With the first round one session from expiry, will any more of the seeds say goodbye?
One player who desperately needs a decent run is going to bow out right away; either Daryl Gurney or Ian White will live to fight another day. Gurney hasn't looked his true self for some time, bar a good run at the World Championship in December. White, meanwhile, can't even call upon strong floor form, which in the past has been his saving grace. Anything other than a pair of rusty performances would be a pleasant surprise.
Nathan Aspinall and Mervyn King met in a real barnstormer of a first-round tie back in 2019; back then, it was King who prevailed. The Asp is, surprisingly, still chasing his first World Matchplay win. It'll be an uphill task to get that maiden win here with King, a Masters finalist this year, a wily opponent. But another good year in the Premier League Darts has set Aspinall up for a run at the Winter Gardens.
It has now been five years since Michael van Gerwen negotiated his way past the World Matchplay quarter-finals. Since winning back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016, the Dutchman has stuttered in this event. He'll feel well placed to get through his quarter this time, but the run is fraught with danger. Damon Heta has proved himself capable of spectacular darts on a number of occasions, but a win over Mighty Mike would be the Aussie's biggest win yet.
Stephen Bunting had half a brilliant Super Series, winning Players Championship 17 and making the quarter-finals the next day, before tailing off a bit. The Bullet now returns to the World Matchplay after a year out, having made the quarter-finals last time. Gary Anderson got a bit further than the last eight last year, making it to the final. He'll be keen to go one better than last time, but Bunting will definitely prove to be one tough nut to crack.
Schedule 2021 World Matchplay
Monday July 19 (1900 BST)
4x First Round
19:10 Daryl Gurney v Ian White
20:10 Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King
21:10 Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta
22:10 Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting