2019 Betfred World Matchplay – Michael Smith vs Rob Cross Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Michael Smith vs Rob Cross taking place? Sunday 28th July, 2019

Where is Michael Smith vs Rob Cross taking place? Winter Gardens, Blackpool

What channel is Michael Smith vs Rob Cross on? Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

Where can I stream Michael Smith vs Rob Cross? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Where can I get tickets for Michael Smith vs Rob Cross? Check https://www.pdc.tv/betfred-world-matchplay-tickets for ticket information

THE STATISTICS

All-time meetings: Michael Smith 3-12 Rob Cross
Last meeting: Rob Cross beat Michael Smith 8-1

THE PLAYERS

MICHAEL SMITH

  • Michael Smith produced a very polished performance with an average of just over 100 and a checkout percentage of 50% to win 17-10 against Glen Durrant and join a rare group of players who have reached the final of the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay.
  • The St. Helens man took control against Durrant from the start by claiming nine of the opening 11 legs, at the end of which he had missed only one dart at a double and was averaging 108. Although Duzza staged a revival to trail 12-8 it never looked as though Smith was going to let the lead slip and he made sure of a place in the final by winning five of the next seven legs.
  • This is Smith’s seventh appearance in a senior PDC TV tournament final; his sole victory in the previous six finals was at the Shanghai Masters last July when he defeated Rob Cross 8-2 in the final.

ROB CROSS

  • 2018 world champion Rob Cross staged one of the most memorable comebacks in World Matchplay history when he came back from 14-7 down to defeat Daryl Gurney 17-15 and reach the Matchplay final for the first time in his career.
  • Despite taking a 3-1 lead against Gurney with three consecutive ton-plus checkouts, Cross proceeded to lose his form thereafter and the Northern Irishman looked to be certain of a place in the final when he led 14-7 only for Cross to spark a remarkable revival by winning ten out of the last 11 legs – including nine on the trot – to stun his beleaguered opponent.
  • This is his eighth appearance in a PDC TV tournament final. He has won two of the previous seven, which includes the 2018 World Championship final. This is his third major TV tournament final of 2019 having appeared in the final of both the Premier League and the UK Open.

THE PREDICTION

An action packed 2019 World Matchplay comes to a close with what should be an enthralling final between two players who have really established themselves as major players on the darting circuit having both appeared in the finals at the World Championship and Premier League over the past couple of years. Although he has won a World Series tournament previously, Michael Smith is still chasing his first major ranking TV tournament win, and he certainly looks in good form to have a genuine chance of breaking that duck here at the 2019 World Matchplay. Cross may still wonder how he is still in the tournament after looking certain to be heading home when he was playing poorly at 14-7 down against Gurney, but the way he came back will certainly give him extra-belief that even if he is trailing, he is capable of getting back into contention.

It’s a very tough match to call as both players are equally able to produce successive legs of world class darts at key moments and can go missing for a number of legs also. Perhaps surprisingly, the head-to-head record is 12-3 in favour of Cross but Smith did defeat Voltage to win his World Series title so he won’t be too troubled by that record. ‘Bully Boy’ is tipped to edge out Cross in a thrilling final to claim his first major TV title in a match predicted to go more than 31.5 legs.

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