The PDC 2019 World Darts Championships has been full of surprises and upsets. The biggest field in World Darts history gathered at the Alexandra Palace, London to compete for a total prize fund of £2.5M with £500,000 going to the eventual winner.
The 2019 PDC World Championship featured 96 players and for the first time, two spaces were reserved for ladies. The nice addition did not disappoint as both players; Anastasia Drobromyslova and the current BDO World Darts Champion, Lisa Ashton, showed the world they had earned their rightful place at the Championships. Upsets were on the cards when the ladies took to the stage, especially when Lisa Ashton took the first set against Jan Dekker. However, it was not to be as both ladies bowed out in the first round. Both Ladies will now be concentrating on the 2019 BDO Lakeside Ladies World Darts Championship.
For the fans and punters, the 2019 PDC World Championship has been one of great spectacle, reward and disappointment in equal measure. Many of the lower ranked players have made their name in the 2019 World Championship. Players like Nathan Aspinall have upset the pre-tournament betting odds as they have quietly gone about dismissing some of the highly ranked tournament favourites in their wake.
Commentators initially gave little hope to Nathan nicknamed the ‘Asp’, as he worked his way to the semi-final defeating Geert Netjes, Gerwen Price ranked No.6, Kyle Anderson ranked No.27, Devon Peterson the African No.1 now based in the UK and the on-form Brendon Dolan known as the ‘the history maker’ for his 9-dart double off double finish leg in the 2011 World Grand Prix. However, this is no real surprise to the many dart fans that follow the PDC Pro Tour and Challenge events as more like the ‘Asp’ are queuing up to take out the bigger named players on the darting circuit.
The PDC World Championship prize fund is the biggest in the PDC Sporting Calendar. A player going deep into the tournament can see his ranking swiftly changed. However, on the reverse side, a ranked player that might have done well in previous years tournaments can see their ranking dramatically fall, adding to the pressure of the tournament. The is may have been one of the main reasons why so many ranked players failed to play at their best and were defeated in their first rounds.
Peter Wright, Raymond van Barneveld, Mensur Suljovic, Simon Whitlock were just some of the highly ranked players that failed to make an impression as all left the championships without winning a match. This gave the 2019 World Darts Championship a totally different feel as new names came to the forefront which is a great testament to the PDC’s development tour programme which has given the unseeded players the confidence to play at the top level of the sport.
Not surprisingly, the two names that most of us expected to reach the semi-finals, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson both made it through the quarterfinals. Michael van Gerwen beat Ryan Joyce to claim his place, while Gary Anderson, suffering from a bad back, was pushed all the way by Chris Dobey in his quarter-final.
Gary and Chris are both under the same the management and know each other well. It would have come as no surprise to Gary how well Chris played. However, Chris faltered at the end and failed to take his chances to win the match. Chris is another of the new breed of players that have made a lasting impression in this year’s championships and will be a player to watch out for during 2019.
Michael van Gerwen has had some of the highest darting averages in the 2019 World Championships including a 170 finish.
Michael Smith was drawn in the lower half of the draw section, considered the easier section to progress though especially when some of the major contenders failed at their first hurdle. The ‘Bully Boy’ has been consistent in his quest to his first world title and many consider 2019 will be his year for success. A prolific 180 scorer, the ‘Bully Boy’ has lived up to his nickname.
Nathan Aspinall has said the prize money from this year’s World Championship will be life-changing for him. It is the biggest single amount he has earned from playing darts and his future looks bright. However, it will be Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen who will contest the 2019 PDC World Darts final. Michael Smith had a great encounter with Nathan Aspinall in the first of the two semi-finals. Hitting 17 180’s en route and achieving his highest darts average within the Championship, 105.22 Michael was an emotional wreck after nine years of trying, he eventually reached his dream of being in a world final.
Michael van Gerwen dismissed Gary Anderson in the second semi-final. Many fans believed this was the final of the 2019 Championships as they believed the winner of this encounter would go on to win the 2019 title. It was one-way traffic for Micheal as he speedily beat Gary 6-1. The match was an anti-climax as the young Dutchman dominated from start to finish. The relief, however, was plain to see for Michael. The hard work he had put in had paid off. The final looks to be one of the best in recent years.
After winning the 2018 World Championships, Rob Cross failed to make much more of an impression during 2018. But has the fairy tale come to an end?
In the run-up to the 2018 World Darts Championships, Rob was making his name, going deep into tournaments. However, he managed to achieve what a few have ever done before, winning the World Championship at his first attempt.
Expectations were high for Rob in 2018 however, little materialised to the disappointment to his fans and to the pundits that saw Rob as being a major contender during 2018. The demands on Rob after his 2018 World Championship victory left him little time to follow his normal practise routines and this, unfortunately, showed during the course of 2018. However, 2019 may well be a different story. Although Rob failed to emulate the skill, he showed in the 2018 World Championship in this year’s championship, the pressure of being the current world champion is off. 2019 should be a better year for Rob as many of us look forward to seeing a return to his 2017 form.