The second round of the WDF World Darts Championship begins inside the Lakeside Country Club on Monday which means that for the first time in both the singles draws we will see the seeded players taking to the stage.
That is automatically going to raise the quality and profile of the tournament and we have some juicy looking matches to enjoy both from the men’s draw and the women’s one as a result of that on what should be a good day of darts.
We get underway with a good looking men’s match as Mike Warburton, a regular on our streams throughout lockdown on the Live League, takes on Dave Prins who looked good at the World Seniors earlier in the year and continued that form in the opening round on Saturday. When they are done the first women’s match of the second round will take to the stage when Maria O’Brien looks to highlight her title credentials. She faces Marjolein Noijens in her opening match.
Two men’s matches finish off the afternoon session and the first of those looks like it could be a cracker as the fourth seed Aaron Turner takes on the man who shot the 100+ average in the opening round in Jim McEwan. Turner will be looking for a better result and display than his wife Laura gave on Sunday when she lost to Mikuru Suzuki. The last match of the afternoon sees the teenage star Luke Littler on the stage for the first time. He meets Ben Hazel who he thrashed on his way to the Irish Open title last year.
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There are no shortage of stars coming out to play in the evening session as well and that gets underway with the man who beat Martin Adams on the opening day in Jarred Cole. His reward is a meeting with Antony Allen before the pick of the women’s matches on Monday sees Corinne Hammond takes on Rhian O’Sullivan who looked fantastically good on Saturday. Many are suggesting that the winner of that one will make the final so that should be a quality contest.
Two overseas stars meet in the penultimate match of the night when Richard Veenstra enters the competition looking for a first world title. His opening opponent is the Romanian player Laszlo Kadar who looked quite tidy in the first round and could certainly cause ‘Flyers’ some problems. The number one seed enters the tournament in the final match of the night as Brian Raman takes on a Johnny Haines who was only just shy of 90 on his average in his first round win and so could easily lay it down to the Belgian if he has that form again.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the day with the first one coming in the last match of the afternoon where I expect Luke Littler to win with more than a bit to spare. He is a much better player than Ben Hazel as he showed in the Irish Open last year when he beat him 5-2 in the semi-final. The doubt here is that it will be the first time Littler has played in the World Championship on this stage but I tend to find youngsters don’t carry as many nerves as those for whom this is a big deal. Hazel definitely looked nervous in the first round and a 72 average isn’t going to get the job done very often even at this level. He might improve for the run but there is nothing I’ve seen that suggests if Littler is close to his best he won’t come away winning this no worse than 3-1.
The other bet comes in the women’s draw where if Rhian O’Sullivan averages 85 throughout this tournament she won’t just beat Corinne Hammond she will win the competition. That was the mark she reached in her opening win over Paula Jacklin and the positive of that was she was not tested in the slightest in that match and generally averages get brought down when the opponent is making life easy for you. That suggests there could be more to come from the Welsh ace and it wouldn’t be a surprise if there is. This is the first time Hammond will have been on the stage this season and while she is a very good player she is going to be coming in cold. If you think of the two PDC World Championships which have had a similar format to this with seeded players bypassing the first round there are a lot of shocks because one player has had time to settle on the stage and the other hasn’t. Factor in that WDF players haven’t seen a big stage like this for close to 27 months and it is only likely to be exaggerated. I think the even money on O’Sullivan is a fair bet here.
Back L.Littler (-1.5 sets) to beat B.Hazel for a 3/10 stake at 1.67 with Coral
Back him here:
Back R.O’Sullivan to beat C.Hammond for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
Back her here: