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World Matchplay Darts: Peter Wright and Dimitri Van den Bergh both win, but Jonny Clayton gets dumped | Darts News

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A Look Back at Day One's Best Boxes at Blackpool's World Matchplay Darts

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A Look Back at Day One’s Best Boxes at Blackpool’s World Matchplay Darts

A Look Back at Day One’s Best Boxes at Blackpool’s World Matchplay Darts

Defending champions Peter Wright and Dimitri Van den Bergh made it through easily on the opening night of the World Matchplay in Blackpool, but Jonny Clayton became the first major casualty.

Wright started his defense of the Phil Taylor Trophy with a comfortable win against Latvian debutant Madars Razma before declaring he would keep his title.

Meanwhile, 2020 champion Van den Bergh took a resounding victory over Callan Rydz, as ‘The Polish Eagle’ Krzysztof Ratajski defeated Stephen Bunting.

But Clayton, a five-time title winner on television, saw his Blackpool dreams wash away at sea for another year when the enigmatic Austrian debutant Rowby-John Rodriguez defeated ‘The Ferret’ with an impressive performance on the Winter Gardens stage.

Saturday July 16 – Results

First round Krzysztof Ratajskiz 10-6 Stephen Bunting
Dimitri Van den Bergho 10-2 Callan Rydzo
Peter Wright 10-4 Madar Razma
Johnny Clayton 7-10 Rowby John Rodriguez
Rowby-John Rodriguez says he is confident he can beat anyone in his current form at this year's World Matchplay

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Rowby-John Rodriguez says he is confident he can beat anyone in his current form at this year’s World Matchplay

Rowby-John Rodriguez says he is confident he can beat anyone in his current form at this year’s World Matchplay

Rodriguez delivered the performance of the night, averaging 99 to take a 10-7 success against Clayton, who became the first seed to exit the tournament in the first round for the fourth time in five appearances

World No. 73 Rodriguez built momentum after a good start and opened a 5-3 lead.

Clayton stopped the rot with a stunning 130 finish in leg nine, but that was taken over moments later by a stunning 156 finish from Rodriguez, who then held the throw-in in leg 11 to create a three legged buffer.

Rodriguez landed this incredible 156 cash register en route to a famous win

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Rodriguez landed this incredible 156 cash register en route to a famous win

Rodriguez landed this incredible 156 cash register en route to a famous win

The Welshman continued to fight bravely, and although Rodriguez turned down two match darts, the former World Cup runner-up hit back with a neat 13-dart hold to seal the deal.

“I’m confident. I’m in really good shape at the moment and in my mind I can beat anyone,” claimed Rodriguez, who will take on Van den Bergh in a ravishing last-16 draw.

“Dimitri is one of my best friends. We will play a great game and the better player will win that day.”

Peter Wright sent a strong message to his competitors after his win over Madars Razma

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Peter Wright sent a strong message to his competitors after his win over Madars Razma

Peter Wright sent a strong message to his competitors after his win over Madars Razma

Wright, who aspires to become just the fourth player in World Matchplay history to retain the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy, advanced to the second round with a routine 10-4 win over debutant Razma.

The world No. 1 took advantage of a slow start from the Latvian to race to a 5-0 lead, landing a brace of 13 darts and converting a clinical ton in the opening session.

Wright, averaging 97.42 and firing in seven 180s, extended his lead to 8-2 before Razma hit back with 14 consecutive darts, but a superb checkout of 157 in the penultimate leg catapulted him to a spot near the last 16.

Wright came closer to victory with his massive 157 . cash register

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Wright came closer to victory with his massive 157 . cash register

Wright came closer to victory with his massive 157 . cash register

“The crowd has been fantastic and it’s great to be back in the Winter Gardens,” said Wright, who now faces Krzysztof Ratajski for a place in the quarter-finals.

“There are a lot more 180s to come, maybe nine-darters too. I think I will win it again.

“Krzysztof is a fantastic player, but no matter which player shows up, they have to be consistent from the first leg to the last, and there aren’t many players in this tournament who can do that.”

Van den Bergh sent a statement to his title rivals at the Winter Gardens, forcing Rydz to start his bid for a second World Matchplay crown.

The 2020 champion – runner up twelve months ago – achieved a World Series of Darts double in Copenhagen and Amsterdam last month, and he maintained that sparkling form with an emphatic 10-2 win over last year’s quarter-finalist Rydz.

Dimitri Van den Bergh completed a 10-2 drubbing against Callan Rydz with this stunning 137 checkout

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Dimitri Van den Bergh completed a 10-2 drubbing against Callan Rydz with this stunning 137 checkout

Dimitri Van den Bergh completed a 10-2 drubbing against Callan Rydz with this stunning 137 checkout

A 116 finish by Van den Bergh in leg seven led to a run of six consecutive legs, before the ninth seed sealed his progression with a spectacular 137 finish.

“I am very proud of the way I played today, especially with the level of the opponent I played against,” said the Belgian, who averaged 100 and converted 71 percent of his doubles attempts.

“The crowd is amazing. Every time I hear them sing my name I get so happy. I’m here to get a job done, I’m here to chase my dream and I can’t wait for my next game .”

Sunday 17 July – Match schedule first round

Afternoon session Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Ryan Searlea
Danny Noppert vs Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson vs Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith vs Andrew Gilding
A look back at some of the most memorable moments in the career of legendary darts commentator John Gwynne, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 77

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A look back at some of the most memorable moments in the career of legendary darts commentator John Gwynne, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 77

A look back at some of the most memorable moments in the career of legendary darts commentator John Gwynne, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 77

Sunday 17 July – Match schedule first round

Evening session Joe Cullen vs Damon Heta
James Wade vs Martin Lukeman
Michael van Gerwen vs Adrian Lewis
Luke Humphries vs Nathan Aspinalli

In Saturday’s opening game, Ratajski, who reached the semi-finals last year, opened this year’s tournament with an impressive 10-6 win over former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting.

“It was a good game. Stephen pressured me all the time, but I’m really happy,” said Ratajski, who averaged 98.43 to continue his impressive record at the Winter Gardens.

“I feel really good and I’m playing at a high level now. I think I can play much better and I expect to produce this in the coming matches.”

Check out daily Darts News at skysports.com/darts, our mobile app and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts. You can watch the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool – live on Sky Sports for the next nine days.

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