Schedule for Sunday afternoon at 2021 World Matchplay including Wade versus Humphries
The story of Day One was one of success for the seeds; Dave Chisnall, Jonny Clayton, Gerwyn Price and Dimitri van den Bergh all made it safely through. This time, two former World Matchplay champions are in the firing line.
Krzysztof Ratajski may be the seed in the opening tie, but there's a good argument to say that Brendan Dolan is the favourite. It's certainly Dolan, a two-time Pro Tour finalist in 2021, that has produced the more consistent results. But Ratajski has made the quarter-finals in two out of his past three major appearances, while the History Maker's major record outside of Dublin is cause for concern.
We're now beyond the point of concern with Glen Durrant's form. There's no quick fix to the issues afflicting Duzza, and a third consecutive semi-final at the World Matchplay looks like a long shot. And yet, although he's the most at-risk seed (as Durrant himself hinted on Twitter), the now ex-Premier League champion shouldn't be ruled out. There'll be pressure on Callan Rydz at the Winter Gardens, amidst the pressure of a debut on one of the biggest stages and with many tipping him to win. If he can settle in quickly, bragging rights in a Tyne-Tees derby could belong to the exciting youngster.
Rob Cross finds himself in a conundrum. The 2019 World Matchplay champion has more to lose than any player turning up in Blackpool, with a first-round loss potentially seeing the fifth seed tumble out of the world's top ten due to ranking money falling off. Ross Smith, on a high after finally earning a first PDC title at the last Super Series and making his debut, is in a boat sailing in entirely the opposite direction. Look at the bracket and the prospect of Smith even making the semi-finals isn't a mad one at all - though just one performance can quickly make a mockery of such a statement.
James Wade became a three-time UK Open champion with an 11-5 victory against Luke Humphries earlier this year. Now it's the 26-year-old's chance to get his own back on the Machine. Wade likes the World Matchplay, and has only fallen at the first hurdle in two of his previous 15 campaigns. Yet the more recent form at this event isn't sparkling and Humphries - a third debutant of the afternoon - has the opportunity to topple the fourth seed and build on the major momentum started by his UK Open fireworks.
Schedule 2021 World Matchplay
Sunday July 18, afternoon session (13:00 GMT)
First Round (4x)
13:10 Krzysztof Ratajski v Brendan Dolan
14:10 Glen Durrant v Callan Rydz
15:10 Rob Cross v Ross Smith
16:10 James Wade v Luke Humphries