Preview: Women’s World Matchplay II

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The 2023 Betfred Women’s World Matchplay takes place in Blackpool on Sunday, as Fallon Sherrock bids to retain her title on a bumper afternoon of action at the Empress Ballroom.

The second staging of the £25,000 event will be held on the afternoon of Sunday July 23 at the iconic Winter Gardens, televised live on Sky Sports and through the PDC’s global broadcast partners.

The eight-player field is comprised of the top eight players from the rolling 12-month PDC Women’s Series Order of Merit, with five different nations represented in the knockout tournament.

Sherrock defeated Aileen de Graaf to claim the inaugural title 12 months ago, and the history-maker will begin her defence of the title with a blockbuster quarter-final clash against Lisa Ashton.

However, top seed Beau Greaves will headline this year’s tournament, having taken the Women’s Series circuit by storm over the last year with a series of record-breaking displays.

The teenage sensation has remarkably won 15 of the 20 Women’s Series events held since last year’s Women’s World Matchplay, which included an astonishing winning run totalling 70 matches.

The 19-year-old warmed up for her Winter Gardens debut by claiming a hat-trick of titles in Hildesheim last month, which saw her overhaul 14-time event winner Ashton to become the most successful player in Women’s Series history.

Greaves will take centre stage in the opening match of this year’s tournament against Dutch debutant Noa-Lynn van Leuven, one of five newcomers in this year’s event.

“I’m looking forward to it – I’ve been watching the World Matchplay on TV all week and it’s a great opportunity for me,” said Greaves.

“I’m going to be ready for it. It’s been a long wait for me after missing out last year, but hopefully I can relax and play my game.

“I’ve been very focused on enjoying my game. I’ve played it down a lot, but I want this to be my life, I want to play darts forever and this year I’ve been taking it a lot more seriously.

“I think I was playing a lot better last year, but there are times in your career where you will have ups and downs. Mentally I do feel ready.

“It would be amazing to win this title. It would be a massive achievement. There is so going to be so much quality on show, but it’s a challenge and it’s a challenge I am looking forward to.”

Sherrock will play four-time Women’s World Champion Ashton in arguably the pick of the quarter-final ties, as the pair prepare to renew their rivalry on one of the sport’s most iconic stages.

Sherrock will play four-time Women’s World Champion Ashton in arguably the pick of the quarter-final ties, as the pair prepare to renew their rivalry on one of the sport’s most iconic stages.

“I feel like my game is slowly getting back to the level I want, and I’m just eager to get up there and show everyone how well I’m playing again,” said Sherrock, who hit a nine-dart finish on the PDC Winmau Challenge Tour earlier this year.

“I’m going into Blackpool thinking that nobody is expecting me to win, because they’ve got their eyes on Beau.

“I do prefer having the tougher games though, because it makes you play and it brings out your best game; you want to showcase what you can do.

“It also shows you how much you’re able to deal with the pressure, and I think that’s what I strive to do. I want to play the best players because I want to be put under pressure.”

Elsewhere, Japanese trailblazer Mikuru Suzuki will make her Winter Gardens debut against last year’s runner-up De Graaf in another fascinating encounter.

Suzuki has remarkably reached the final in nine of the 20 Women’s Series events held during the last year; claiming a brace of titles in 2023 to arrive in Blackpool as the second seed.

“I was really disappointed to miss out on qualifying last year, so I am very happy to be here,” claimed Suzuki, a former World Darts Championship and Grand Slam of Darts participant.

“Everyone who has qualified for this event is a very good player. It will be a very tough game against Aileen, but I will just try my best.

“It’s a very good opportunity for me to make a name for myself in the PDC, and if I win this title I will be in the Grand Slam and World Championship, which is my main goal.”

The other quarter-final clash will see fourth seed Robyn Byrne, from Ireland, take on Welsh star Rhian O’Sullivan, after both players celebrated maiden Women’s Series titles in 2023.

Byrne – a three-time finalist on the Women’s Series circuit this year – has yet to make a televised appearance, while O’Sullivan was twice a runner-up at the Lakeside Championship.

The semi-finals and final will take place later in the afternoon, and the winner will qualify for November’s Grand Slam of Darts as well as the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.

2023 Betfred Women’s World Matchplay

Sunday July 23

Draw Bracket

(1) Beau Greaves v (8) Noa-Lynn van Leuven

(4) Robyn Byrne v (5) Rhian O’Sullivan

(2) Mikuru Suzuki v (7) Aileen de Graaf

(3) Fallon Sherrock v (6) Lisa Ashton

Schedule of Play

Sunday July 23 (1300 BST

Quarter-Finals

Beau Greaves v Noa-Lynn van Leuven

Robyn Byrne v Rhian O’Sullivan

Mikuru Suzuki v Aileen de Graaf

Fallon Sherrock v Lisa Ashton

Best of 7 legs

Semi-Finals

Greaves/Van Leuven v Byrne/O’Sullivan

Suzuki/De Graaf v Sherrock/Ashton

Best of 9 legs

Final

Best of 11 legs

Prize Money

Winner: £10,000

Runner-Up: £5,000

Semi-Finalists: £2,500

Quarter-Finalists: £1,250

Total: £25,000

—–ENDS—-

Images: PDC

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