2020 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals preview

Michael van Gerwen

The 2020 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals begins on Friday at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry as Michael van Gerwen opens his title defence against Darius Labanauskas on a packed opening day of action.

The tournament, traditionally held at Butlin's Resort in Minehead, will see the top 64 players from the 2020 Players Championship Order of Merit following 23 events this year competing for £500,000 in prize money from November 27-29.

Play on the opening two days will be split across two stages, the Main Stage and Stage Two, as Friday sees all 64 players competing in the first round.

Reigning champion and third seed Van Gerwen will be out to end a televised title drought stretching back to March when he won the UK Open in Minehead.

The world number one has endured a testing 2020, but ahead of his meeting with Labanauskas insists there are signs of recovery.

"I know I am playing better but winning is a habit, and I need to get that habit back," Van Gerwen explained.

"I know I'm close to winning these tournament again, I need to stop making mistakes.

"My focus is on defending this title, I'm not looking past this tournament.

"The defeat to Simon [Whitlock] last week in the Grand Slam hurt, but it was great to be able to spend some extra time at home with my family."

Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price was narrowly defeated in last year's final

Van Gerwen is rated a 4/1 joint-favourite for the title along with last year's runner-up Gerwyn Price, who will be looking to add to his trio of TV crowns in 2020.

The second seed will take on John Henderson in his opening assignment, with Price keen to put the disappointment of losing his Grand Slam title last week behind him.

"Having held the Grand Slam title for two years, of course it hurt to lose," said Price.

"But as soon as that game was over I put it behind me and turned my focus to this tournament.

"The Players Championship Finals is a tournament I like. I did really well here last year but came up just short in the final, hopefully I can go one better this time."

Peter Wright
Wright suffered a shock first round loss to James Wilson last year

Peter Wright comes into the tournament as top seed, having picked up four Players Championship titles in 2020, and he will face Ryan Meikle in his opener.

The World Champion has had a mixed run of form in October and November, having lifted the European Championship title before exiting the Grand Slam at the group stage for the first time since 2013.

"It was a bit of a shock to me to go out in the group stage at the Grand Slam," Wright admitted.

"But I'm not too concerned by it, I still think I'm playing well enough to beat anyone and to win trophies.

"I'll be giving it everything this weekend, it would be a real boost to win the last tournament before I defend my World Championship."

Friday's First Round will also see newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa meet Belgium's Mike De Decker, while Premier League champion Glen Durrant faces Wayne Jones.

Simon Whitlock's meeting Adrian Lewis is among the pick of the first round ties, along with Dave Chisnall against Mervyn King and Devon Petersen's tie with Luke Humphries.

Saturday sees the second round take place in the afternoon session and the third round in the evening session, with play continuing across two stages.

On Sunday the action will be centred on the main stage, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

The PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final, between Bradley Brooks and Joe Davis, will be played between the second semi-final and final and will be shown as part of the main broadcast.

The Main Stage action will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

Matches from stage two on Friday and Saturday will be streamed live on PDCTV for all Subscribers.

Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Schedule of Play
Friday November 27
First Round
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Main Stage
Dirk van Duijvenbode v William O'Connor
Michael Smith v Boris Krcmar
Rob Cross v Jason Lowe
Joe Cullen v Adam Hunt
Devon Petersen v Luke Humphries
Ryan Searle v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock

Stage Two
Brendan Dolan v Luke Woodhouse
Ryan Joyce v Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting v Ryan Murray
Krzysztof Ratajski v Karel Sedlacek
Gabriel Clemens v Martijn Kleermaker
Ian White v William Borland
Jonny Clayton v Mickey Mansell
Daryl Gurney v Callan Rydz
Dave Chisnall v Mervyn King

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Main Stage

Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites
Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown
James Wade v Niels Zonneveld
Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen v Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price v John Henderson
Jose De Sousa v Mike De Decker

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort v Derk Telnekes
Ricky Evans v Jamie Hughes
Ross Smith v Kim Huybrechts
Damon Heta v Maik Kuivenhoven
Jermaine Wattimena v Steve Lennon
Madars Razma v Chris Dobey
Glen Durrant v Wayne Jones
Darren Webster v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Danny Noppert v Steve Beaton

Saturday November 28
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

16 x Round Two (two stages)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
8 x Round Three (two stages)

Sunday November 29
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Quarter-Finals (one stage)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final (one stage)
PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final
Joe Davis v Bradley Brooks
Best of 11 legs

Schedule of play for Saturday and Sunday TBC.

Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Outright Winner Odds (Top ten favourites)

4/1 Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen
11/2 Peter Wright
12/1 Jose de Sousa, Michael Smith
16/1 Dimitri Van den Bergh, James Wade
20/1 Krzysztof Ratajski, Nathan Aspinall
25/1 Devon Petersen 
Odds correct at time of writing and courtesy www.ladbrokes.com. Subject to fluctuation.

First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 11 legs
Third Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner - £100,000
Runner-Up - £50,000
Semi-Finalists - £25,000
Quarter-Finalists - £15,000
Third Round Losers - £10,000
Second Round Losers - £5,000
First Round Losers - £2,500
Total - £500,000