Jeffrey de Zwaan returns to the place where he made his big breakthrough last year on Sunday evening.

The Dutchman made it to the semi-finals in 2018 after beating Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall. De Zwaan qualified this year again for the World Matchplay after winning his second PDC Pro Tour title.

”I took a few days off, went to Blackpool early (Thursday) to relax for a few days”, De Zwaan told Dartsnews about his preparation ahead of the World Matchplay.

”It started here for me last year. That gives me some confidence for my next match. I’m really looking forward to play on that stage again.”

Jeffrey de Zwaan stunned Michael van Gerwen at the World Matchplay last year.

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Another difficult draw

De Zwaan is now starting to have a patent for getting difficult draws. Last year he faced Van Gerwen in the first round, this year he will play against 2007 Champion James Wade in the opening round.

”It doesn’t surprise me anymore”, the Black Cobra said. ”You know you are getting a top 16 player. It’s James Wade now, but it could have been Van Gerwen again as well.”

The advantage of a tough draw is that De Zwaan cannot underestimate his opponent. ”I know I have to be sharp from the beginning, otherwise I’m out of the tournament.”

Wade is a difficult opponent for many players to play. Not only because of his quality, but also because of his ability to let opponents play less when he is not playing well himself.

”I can handle players like that, I proved that against Adrian Lewis last year (in the second round). Wade is very good on his finishes. He can hurt his opponents with his finishes and I need to arm myself for that.”

Muscles of concrete

Despite an early trip to Blackpool, the preparation is not entirely ideal for De Zwaan. The Dutchman suffers from a shoulder injury, which also troubled him in his first period as Tour Card holder (2015-2017).

”I have had some problems with my shoulder in the past few weeks. When you practice three to four hours a day, your shoulder is not going to cooperate at some point.”

“The problem is that your muscles will get stuck. The physio and masseur then have a lot of work to do to get it loose again. It looks like the muscles are made of concrete. ”

”I need to deal with that and that’s why I took a few days off. I went for a massage on Saturday and I’m going to do my very best on Sunday evening”, De Zwaan added.

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Pieter