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Rob Cross 3-1 Simon Whitlock
Last Thursday in Dublin on his Premier League debut, Rob Cross was outplayed by world number one Michael van Gerwen and suffered a comprehensive 7-2 defeat.
Cross then went on to lose in the opening round in all three of last weekend’s UK Open qualifying tournaments and comes into this match having lost each of his last five matches. This represents easily the worst run of results he has had since joining the full PDC tour last February.
In four previous meeting against Whitlock, he has come out on top on three occasions including wins in each of their last two encounters.
In week one of the Premier League, Whitlock came back from 3-1 down to earn a 7-5 win against Mensur Suljovic in a high-quality encounter. Whitlock’s average of 106.49 was the highest from any player last week, with the 103.71 from Suljovic the second highest.
His first nine dart average of 113.39 was also superior to that of any other player on the opening night, but the most impressive part of his game against Suljovic was his finishing; it was top quality, with only one missed dart at a double in the whole match.
Whitlock had a decent run to the last 16 at the first UK Open qualifier last Friday where he lost 6-5 to Kim Huybrechts, but his results on the following two days were underwhelming; he lost in the second round on Saturday and the first round on Sunday.
Rob Cross has had a tough start to his year as the PDC world champion and needs to put an end to his run of defeats which stands at five in a row. He has shown over the last year how much quality he has, but his confidence must have taken a hit over the last couple of weeks.
Simon Whitlock exceeded all expectations in his win over Suljovic last week. He was the all-round top performer on the night but reaching those levels two weeks in a row will be a tall order and Whitlock hasn’t shown over recent years that he can consistently back up his best performances.
Cross might have suffered some poor results recently but he certainly has the calibre to bounce back, and the prediction is for Cross to edge out Whitlock in a close-run game.