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Women's World Matchplay preview: Beau Greaves looks unstoppable in Blackpool

Beau Greaves, the new superstar of the ladies' game, is the overwhelming favourite to win the second Women's World Matchplay in Blackpool.

The South Yorkshire thrower, 1/2 to claim the £10,000 winner's cheque on Sunday afternoon, is making her first appearance at the Winter Gardens, having missed out on last summer's inaugural event.

Fallon Sherrock beat Aileen de Graaf 6-4 in the final 12 months ago and both are back to see if they can stop Greaves from claiming the title.

WhatWomen's World Matchplay
WhereWinter Gardens, Blackpool
When13:00, Sunday 23rd July 2023
How to watchSky Sports Action
OddsBeau Greaves 1/2, Fallon Sherrock 9/2, Mikuru Suzuki 7/1, Lisa Ashton 12/1, Rhian O'Sullivan 16/1

The Women's World Matchplay is the latest brainchild of the PDC to grow the women's game and the top players in the game could not have a grander stage upon which to display their skills.

Eight ladies, headed by world No.1 Beau Greaves, will take to the stage for their tournament just hours before the men's World Matchplay final takes place.

The four quarter-finals are best-of-seven legs affairs, the semis are fought out over a maximum nine legs and it's a best-of-11 final to determine who gets to lift the trophy.
 

Teen sensation Beau in class of her own

There are plenty of class acts lining up in the event where Lisa Ashton and Sherrock - as regulars at Alexandra Palace for the World Championship - are the headline acts.

But if they possess the box-office clout and the big-stage experience, it's young Beau Greaves who is the talk of the game right now.

The 19-year-old from Doncaster has taken the ladies' game to new heights with her performances over the last 12 months.

She has won 15 of the last 20 PDC Women's Series events, a sequence that included an eye-watering 70-match winning streak between August and February.

Her most recent triumph came in Hildesheim on June 25 when she won her seventh title of the year with a 5-0 whitewash of Noa-Lynn van Leuven, banging in a 104.38 average and closing the game out with a ten-darter.

Van Leuven's prize for that mauling? Getting drawn to play Greaves in Sunday's opening quarter-final. Hardly a surprise, therefore, that it's 1/14 Beau 'n' Arrow and 7/4 a 4-0 correct score.
 

Unsung stars set for tense showdown

Should Greaves, as expected, make light work of her Dutch opponent, then she will cross tungsten with either Robin Byrne or Rhian O'Sullivan in the last four.

Twice a BDO world championship runner-up, Welsh darter O'Sullivan has one serious claim to fame in 2023 - she has actually beaten Greaves in a Women's Series final, the only time Greaves has lost in a final.

Besides that 5-3 success, O'Sullivan has reached another final - losing to Mikuru Suzuki - and is seeded five in Blackpool, one ranking lower than Byrne.

The Irish player has reached three finals this year, winning one, and both are debutants at the Matchplay having not qualified last year.

The prices suggest it could be tight with O'Sullivan a 4/6 chance, Byrne available at 6/5.
 

Who will emerge from strong bottom half?

If Greaves looks pretty much nailed-on from the top half of the draw, then picking the finalist from the bottom half is appreciably tougher.

Second seed Suzuki, twice a winner on tour this year, plays last year's beaten finalist De Graaf.

De Graaf is a seasoned campaigner, but Suzuki has more in her favour, at least according to the odds, with the Japanese rated a 1/2 chance.

But the tie of the round has to be Sherrock against local hero Ashton.

Sherrock gets the nod at 8/15, but both women are supremely good when their darts are going and it could be a fascinating affair.

Reigning champion Sherrock, the Queen of the Palace because of her exploits at Ally Pally, reached two finals with one win on the most recent weekend of Women's Series action.

Ashton is a former world champion, once pretty much invincible and a former PDC Tour card holder. She can still have flashes of brilliance though her powers are perhaps on the wane.

The Lancashire Rose will be praying a home crowd can lift her back to some dizzy heights of yesteryear.
 

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