Thursday 19 April 2018

Austria quick thoughts

van Gerwen is confirmed out so Clayton gets the last seed, I've not seen a draw for the qualifiers yet but you'd have to assume that Lerchbacher gets through as all of the other semi competent Austrian players are, in their infinite wisdom, playing a tournament in the Philippines, because reasons. So chuck out the two good Rodriguez brothers, Rasztovits, Langendorf played the European qualifier and lost and there's not a great deal left that we know about. The main draw is out so let's have a look at what's going on:

Smith v Henderson/Barnard - three players in form, Smith's fourth in the PDC in overall points per turn right now but Hendo's above 90 and Barnard has just been murdering the Challenge Tour, and is only a couple of points per turn behind the big Scot so the bigger name player in each round won't have it all their own way.
van de Pas v van den Bergh/Stevenson - Benito has to be in trouble here, van den Bergh is averaging a shade under 93 which puts him in the top 10 of the whole PDC, while Stevenson has had some good floor results and a competent 89 points per turn, seven more than the Dutchman.
Cullen v Lennon/HNQ4 - Cullen is averaging less per turn than Lennon, less than a point in fairness but this could be very close between two players with similar statistics if Lennon doesn't hit a banana skin, which he shouldn't.
King v Cullen/Alexits - This is Jason Cullen, who's won a Challenge Tour event this year, while Alexits won the eastern European qualifier to make it, but we know little about him. From what we've seen of Cullen on the main tour he lacks explosive leg power but gets home in 15 more than half the time and has a so-so 86 overall average, nothing that should trouble King though.
Chisnall v Jones/HNQ3 - Wayne is doing OK and is looking pretty consistent, up at 9% four visit kills but under 50% for five visit kills, if he can pull that up to 55-60% that'd be a huge help. He should beat any qualifier but Chisnall ought to have more than enough.
Price v Taylor/Heinz - Taylor we saw earlier this month and he wasn't too impressive, but against a German that we don't know he ought to be OK (although Heinz did beat Kist and Noppert in the qualifier), but Price will overpower either of these.
Cross v Huybrechts/West - Ronny's got a losing record in terms of legs and his overall stats are well below those of Steve, who's up in the top 25 of overall average at 91 plus change. He'll need to do a bit better than that against Cross, who's ahead of all but MvG in that category and should come in as the tournament favourite.
Beaton v Humphries/Munch - The slayer of Adrian Lewis makes a return to the European Tour, and will come up against another World Championship contender in Humphries, who is averaging a lot more than Munch did in the UK Open qualifiers, and would certainly be live against Beaton, who's a couple of points better but the ratio of 4 visit and 5 visit kills are virtually identical.
Gurney v Meulenkamp/Clemens - Fun intra-European qualifier first round game, Clemens averaging 90 to Meulenkamp's 88, Clemens with a bit more consistency compared to Meulenkamp's ability to fire twelves for fun when he wants. Gurney should have enough but if he takes any liberties both have the game to challenge him.
Webster v Burnett/HNQ5 - Burnett is not actually that far behind Webster in terms of averages, but Darren looked good in spots last weekend and if he shows up should hold him off.
Suljovic v Edhouse/Labanauskas - Really interested to see what Darius can do, who had a ridiculous average at Lakeside in a losing effort, Edhouse however has been perhaps a bit unlucky with all three of his winning, losing and overall averages at 89. Suljovic looks to be returning to close to his best but could potentially allow either of these enough chances to get home.
Klaasen v HNQ1/Reyes - Assuming Reyes gets through, this could be pretty interesting - both not in great form, averages within a point of each other on all stats, still being able to finish legs quick when they need to but not putting the bread and butter stuff away.
White v Tabern/Dolan - Ian's quality has been highlighted quite a lot recently, and he should easily be better than either qualifier. Tabern may end up coming in as a favourite but this is close - both with an overall 88 average, Tabern a point better when winning but a couple worse when losing, resulting in a slightly better kill speed.
Whitlock v Hunt/Menzies - We've seen Cameron a few times on tour and he's very up and down - both are within a fifth of a point on overall average, but Menzies finishes in five visits in 10% more legs. Whitlock's below 90 on overall average and having withdrawn last week through illness and looking ordinary in the Premier League, could be there for the taking.
Wright v Wade/HNQ2 - Wade/Wright could be the game of the second round assuming James advances, Wright's stats are a bit better, but it's not by much at all.
Clayton v Burton/Hopp - Our newest tournament winner faces Burton, who shouldn't be a free win - after not playing the UK Open qualifiers he's managed to win a board on the Pro Tour and is just the right side of 90 on overall average this season. Hopp isn't, although more recently he's clearly better and should have the confidence and maturity needed to advance now. Clayton's stats are similar to Burton's with a bit better winning average and a bit worse losing average - if he takes a few legs off Hopp could have him, and maybe even if he doesn't he could have issues.

Looking at what I think the draw order is looking like in the qualifier, Reyes should get a no-name, Wade will get the same, Jones should have got Lerchbacher but he lost to Dietmar Burger, who's up against Goedl for the spot, Lennon ought to get Roxy-James Rodriguez while Burnett gets another random, possibly some guy called Gorjup who beat Kallinger 6-1. Will check it's right later and come back with bets.

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