2020 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals Preview

The 2020 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals begins today at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry with Michael van Gerwen beginning his title defence against Darius Labanauskas.

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 today sees all 64 players competing in the first round.

Reigning champion and third seed Van Gerwen, pictured, 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.”

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 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.

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 

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