Gerwyn Price (5/1 – Outright Winner) knows his Betfred World Matchplay record is not what it should be but he insists that is “going to change” in this year’s edition at Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Price may be heading into the tournament as the reigning world champion and world number one, but he has failed to produce his best form in the World Matchplay and a quarter-final appearance on his debut in 2015 is his best result.
The ‘Iceman’ was knocked out in round two the following year, losing 11-5 to Adrian Lewis, while the Welshman has fallen at the first hurdle in the last four editions after defeats to Phil Taylor, Joe Cullen, Stephen Bunting and Danny Noppert.
It has been a head-scratcher for the 36-year-old, whose huge character and battling qualities suggest this tournament would be a perfect fit for him, and he has been drawn against Jermaine Wattimena in the opening round this year (Price 1/5, Wattimena 7/2 – Match Betting).
Wattimena was drafted in as a replacement for Mensur Suljovic, the Austrian unable to travel due to medical reasons, and the Dutchman will now be getting a fourth crack at the event after losing in the first round on his three previous attempts.
Ahead of the Betfred World Matchplay, which starts on Saturday and runs until July 25, Price has spoken about his desire to change the history books and lift the trophy for the first time.
“The Matchplay is one of the PDC’s top events and it’s one that I am desperate to win. I’ve never done as well as I know I should’ve done, especially in recent years. But I’m going to change that this year,” he told Red Dragon Darts.
“Obviously I missed the Premier League, a tournament I was really excited for, so I haven’t played a huge amount of competitive darts recently, but I’m raring to go now & show everyone what they’ve missed.”
The first match on Saturday gets underway at 19:00 when Dave Chisnall takes on Vincent van der Voort, before Jonny Clayton faces Dirk van Duijvenbode and then Price goes up against Wattimena.
Opening night concludes with defending champion Dimitri van den Bergh (12/1 – Outright Winner) taking on Devon Petersen.