With the ninth edition of the Ladbrokes Masters the 2021 PDC season started this Friday evening. The defending champion is “Snakebite” Peter Wright who defeated Michael Smith in a dramatic last year’s final by 11:10 legs.

The evening was opened by Ian White and Mensur Suljovic. After Ian White won the first leg on throw Suljovic secured the next three legs. White came back to 2:3 before the commercial break.

Already in this early phase of the match the problem in Ian White’s game showed this evening. The “Diamond” was rather inconsistent on his doubles and missed too many chances. Suljovic snatched himself more legs and finally led 5:3.

In the last leg Ian White missed nine darts on doubles as well. Mensur Suljovic had his difficulties to finish the match as well. In the end it was the seventh match dart Suljovic could convert to win.

Premier League Champion Glen Durrant had to pack his bags in round one as well. “Duzza” lost clearly 1:6 against Mervyn King.

King won six legs in a row after trailing 0:1. Among other things “The King” checked 105 and 120 points, averaged 101 and hit 85% of his doubles against a struggling Glen Durrant.

Also eliminated was the World Matchplay Champion of 2020, Dimitri van den Bergh. His opponent Chris Dobey and he both had some problems to get into the match at the beginning. Van den Bergh first levelled an early 0:2 deficit before Dobey managed to secure a 3:2 lead before the break.

Afterwards, Dobey proved to be more consistent than van den Bergh, who could not find his scoring power overall. Dobey also secured the next three legs slightly comfortable and moves into the second round by a 6:2-win and faces James Wade tomorrow.

Simon Whitlock meanwhile took revenge against Krzysztof Ratajski who he lost 4-0 in round three of the previous World Championship. Whitlock started the match quite well and was able to break away at the beginning of the game.

The “Wizard” went into the break with a 4:1 lead. Whitlock was also able to prevent Ratajski from a comeback attempt and after the 4:2 he quickly secured the last two legs for the win.

The duel between Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis continued with great momentum. Both players were already eliminated in round two of the World Championship but nevertheless belong to the biggest talents in darts of the last 15 years.

Adrian Lewis won the first leg on throw before Michael Smith took out a 170 finish in the second leg. With an 11-darter to 2:1 Lewis created the next highlight before he could claim a break to lead 3:1.

Smith took out the next big shot with a 132-highfinish to close the gap to 2:3 and got the re-break there. Both players played a similar level until here, but Lewis was a bit more consistent.

In the sixth leg the next curiosity: Michael Smith played his third high finish of the match – and again it was the 170 with which he could level the match again.

Two legs later Smith’s high finish-run continued. This time the “Bully Boy” finsihed 150 points to make it 4:4.

But Adrian Lewis was very consistent in his opening legs and secured the 5:4 before Smith could snatch the 5:5. In the deciding leg on Lewis won his throw and defeated the top seeded player of the first round, Michael Smith with a good performance.

Daryl Gurney narrowly missed a first round exit. “Superchin” took a quick 3-0 lead against Jeffrey de Zwaan but then let the Dutchman come back into the match.

De Zwaan took his chances from then on and turned the match around to lead 4:3 and later 5:4. But “The Black Cobra” didn’t get another chance to finish the match. Gurney won the last two legs of a game in which both players played an average of under 90 points.

Very competitive was the match between Jonny Clayton and Jose de Sousa. Neither of the two players was able to run away with a bigger lead in this contest.

Both players missed their chances on doubles at some important moments. In the end the match went into the deciding eleventh leg. Clayton checked 130 points here to win the match and will play the last match of the evening tomorrow against Michael van Gerwen who he defeated last year at the same venue.

In the last match of the evening Joe Cullen won against Stephen Bunting 6:4.
Cullen started the match with a 134 checkout and followed it up with a 100 finish to go ahead 2:0.

All in all the “Rockstar” continued where he left off at the World Championship. With 4:1 for Cullen the match went into the break. Cullen played an incredible 124 average at that moment. Bunting himself averaged 117 points here could not keep up the pace of Cullen in the first session.

In the second part of the match the level flattened a little bit. Stephen Bunting could use this in his favour and came close to 3:4. Cullen then secured the break to 5:3, but Bunting immediately managed to break back at 4:5.

However, Cullen regained the upper hand in the tenth leg and will now play Gerwyn Price tomorrow night when the “Iceman” will take to the stage for the first time in his career as World Champion and World Number One.

DAZN and PDC-TV will broadcast the second round action from 1245 GMT.

All results at one glance:

Ladbrokes Masters 2021
Friday, 29.01.2021
8x 1st Round, Best of 11 Legs

Ian White 3-6 Mensur Suljovic
Glen Durrant 1-6 Mervyn King
Dimitri van den Bergh 2-6 Chris Dobey
Krzysztof Ratajski 2-6 Simon Whitlock
Michael Smith 5-6 Adrian Lewis
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Jose de Sousa 5-6 Jonny Clayton
Joe Cullen 6-4 Stephen Bunting

Ladbrokes Masters 2021
Saturday, 30.01.2021
Afternoon session from 1245 pm GMT
4x 2nd Round, Best of 19 Legs

Rob Cross – Mervyn King
James Wade – Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall – Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall – Daryl Gurney

Evening session at 1900 pm GMT
4x 2nd Round, Best of 19 Legs

Gary Anderson – Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright – Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price – Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen – Jonny Clayton