Glen Durrant sets up Michael van Gerwen meeting after victory on his Betfred World Matchplay debut
Michael van Gerwen and Glen Durrant set up a mouthwatering Betfred World Matchplay second round tie with victories on Sunday night as James Wade came through a tie-break thriller in Blackpool.
World champion van Gerwen progressed safely to the last 16 at the Winter Gardens with a 10-6 defeat of Steve Beaton.
However, the world number one missed 27 darts at a double during the contest, and after seeing Beaton hit back from 4-0 down to trail just 5-4, the Dutchman eventually pulled clear for victory.
Van Gerwen’s second round opponent will be three-time Lakeside champion Durrant, who impressed on his World Matchplay debut with a 10-4 defeat of 2013 finalist Adrian Lewis.
Durrant won eight of the first 10 legs in a dominant opening to the game, and held off Lewis’ brief rally to end the tie with a 101.05 average; the highest winning average of the event’s opening two days.
The 2007 champion Wade, meanwhile, claimed victory in a sudden-death 25th leg against Jeffrey de Zwaan, who missed five match darts in a dramatic ending to their first round meeting.
A see-saw contest saw the lead change hands four times as de Zwaan threatened to repeat the heroics of his 2018 run to the semi-finals against the 2007 champion.
Wade, though, produced a gutsy comeback from 3-1, 6-3 and 9-6 down to level in leg 18 as de Zwaan missed three match darts across two legs.
Wade then edged 10-9 up, leading for the first time since leg one, and also held an 11-10 advantage before his own missed match dart allowed de Zwaan to take leg 22 as the tension increased.
An 11-dart break of throw for de Zwaan saw him regain the edge at 12-11, only for the Dutchman to then miss two more match darts at tops as Wade forced a decider, which he took with an 80 finish.
Wade will now play 2018 finalist Mensur Suljovic, who raced past Jermaine Wattimena 10-1 to book his spot in the last 16.
Suljovic claimed the opening three legs without reply, landing a 14-darter to break in leg two, and after the Dutchman responded briefly in leg four with double 16, the Austrian pulled clear.
Suljovic took out 80 to break again in leg six, landed six perfect darts in leg eight and finished 70 for a 9-1 lead before posting double 18 to complete a one-sided win.