In-form Wayne Mardle continues his tipping stint at the World Matchplay with a look at two of tonight's matches, and he fancies Simon Whitlock to go very well in the opener...
"We know highest checkout markets can be a bit hit and miss, but I feel Whitlock could dominate this contest, and if he does he's a lot more likely to have the highest out."
Simon isn't quite back to his best, but he's getting there. The Whitlock of 2010 would have been about a 1/6 shot to win this match, not the 8/13 available with the Betfair Sportsbook.
Simon's good form leaves him on the brink of re-entering the top 16 of the ranking again. I'm confident he'll win this match, but there's not to much to be excited about in the price, so I've looked at other markets. I like the 180s, and Simon to win it at 6/5.
Here are some numbers for you to consider: in matches played over the exact same format as today (best of 19 legs) Kyle has hit 18 maximums over 56 legs, whilst Simon has mustered 24 over 52 legs.
I think Whitlock wins the battle for the most. He is the more consistent player. Kyle can be a little cold on doubles at times, and if he has 'one of those days' could find himself in for a long (short) night.
We know highest checkout markets can be a bit hit and miss, but I feel Whitlock could dominate this contest, and if he does he's a lot more likely to have the highest out.
I'm going to enjoy this one.
Ian White is a real steady customer, reliable at most facets of the sport. He isn't someone you'd automatically think of as a dangerman but he possesses a game to challenge anyone.
Ian's opponent tonight is Rob Cross - "Who?!" I hear some of you yell. Well, he's the latest rising star to burst of the darting scene.
Last year, Cross won the PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit, which earned him a space on the full tour. Since the turn of the year, Rob has won two tour events and reached the quarter-final or better of another seven tournaments. His rise has been quite incredible.
Rob's style of play is very White-like. They are both very straight down the line, with the ability to score brilliantly in spells.
White is vastly experienced in major darts events and I think that could be the difference here. Yes, Cross has done all the damage away from the big stage, but performing to that high level on it? I'm not sure. He has played in the UK Open, but this event is far more significant.
I do think the game will go a long way, maybe over 17.5 legs because they are so similar in styles and ability. But I think White will get the better of Cross, and that experience will be the difference. He has never failed in the first round here after all.
Ian White to win @ 5/4