Wayne Mardle has offered some interesting thoughts on the PDC World Matchplay – backing one debutant as a “certainty” to win.

2003 runner-up Mardle will once again be covering the PDC World Matchplay as a Sky Sports pundit. Previewing the tournament for Sky Sports, ‘Hawaii-501’ discussed the special atmosphere that the Matchplay has.

“Throughout the years when I’ve been there, there’s always a buzz about it. I’ve said it before; it’s really the only major event in the calendar that is played during the English summer,” said Mardle.

“The next major is in October. I just think it has a real different feel and the Winter Gardens – it seems like it was built for darts. If you were going to purpose-build a venue it would look similar and have a similar atmosphere to the Winter Gardens.

“It’s got such a history about it and it will continue because the field is so good.”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Seeds at risk

That good field features a raft of very strong unseeded players. It means that the seeds who are out of form are particularly vulnerable. Mardle has picked out some ties where the odds could be upset.

“I can’t see how Darren Webster can possibly win that tie with Krzysztof Ratajski – I just can’t see it. I think that is the absolute certainty of all certainties,” the Sky Sports pundit claimed.

“I’m not saying he’s going to get beat but I think Vincent van der Voort can give Peter Wright a game.

“I think John Henderson can give Simon Whitlock a fright, Keegan Brown can upset the odds against Jonny Clayton. Mervyn King could beat Nathan Aspinall.

“De Zwaan is capable of beating [James] Wade. I go along with the rest of the world here where I think Glen Durrant is going to beat Adrian Lewis.

“Jamie Hughes could beat Michael Smith. It’s such a strong qualifying field away from the top 16. If there were seven, eight, nine or ten seeds who got beat, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

Best ever?

Mardle picked Michael van Gerwen as his favourite to win, with second seed Rob Cross his pick to make the final. Though with so much talent abounding, the only real certainty is that the World Matchplay will feature some incredible darts.

“Quality-wise it should be the best ever.

“Back in the day when I was playing there were some games where you thought neither player is going to win this, they were that bad.

“You look at the names now, they’re all brutal dart players. They’re very very good.”

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Author: Ed McCosh