Monday, 26 November 2018

World Championship draw - first impressions

Glad that I called two of the three PDPA qualifiers correctly on Twitter at the quarter final stage, Razma losing a deciding leg to Aden Kirk (really?) being the only upset, Adam Hunt and Stephen Burton claiming the last few spots. So what are my early takes on it?

- Pity about that draw for Raymond Smith, I thought he was playing well enough to stand a chance of taking a seed down, but if he gets through Tabern he gets van Gerwen, oh well. Maybe if he gets it to 1-1 in sets it gets nervy?

- Ironic that the highest ranked player per the Pro Tour that wasn't a seed gets the worst seed. Good shot for Noppie to make it to the third round.

- That's not a bad draw for Adie, I really don't see Stevenson or Evetts as the sort of players that'll be able to push him enough given his form this season.

- Awful for Barney to get Labanauskas. Could easily see him losing that one. Edgar's there (Cadby out, sigh) but Darius ought to come through it.

- Joyce can't be too displeased to get Dobromyslova, and Whitlock can't be too displeased with either you'd have thought.

- Lennon has a real chance to do some damage in this tournament. Bailey is not the easiest out, but Norris should be the dog, and then Whitlock wouldn't be unbeatable.

- Ratajski and Asada is, looking at the whole draw, the match of the first round. Wade in the next round isn't the easiest but either of these on their day, especially Krzysztof, can pull the upset.

- Brown ought to handle Sedlacek and then Klaasen, could be a repeat run from last year?

- Nicholson has to love getting Burness, who's not done a great deal on the Pro Tour, but Ando in the second round? No thanks. That said, Paul has the game if Gary isn't quite on it immediately.

- Barnard could do well here. de Sousa had some alright numbers in the qualifier but Michael I think has the edge, and Wattimena isn't beyond him at all.

- van der Voort's been moderately quiet, but ought to be able to dispatch Ilagan and then maybe threaten Webster if his game clicks.

- Dobey/Koltsov ought to be another good one, Chris's game looks to be getting back to its best and Boris has looked real dangerous on occasions. Beaton is probably the favourite against either but not by much.

- Ross Smith against Paul Lim could be an exciting game, but Gurney should be too strong for either.

- Schindler/Harris is another great first round matchup with both hitting great stuff on the various secondary tours and showing it on occasions on the main tour, Jamie Lewis can't be liking what he'll be facing here.

- Payne/Smith will depend on how Smith plays, we've not seen much of him of late. Chizzy will need to be on point against either.

- Thornton I'd have thought will be fine with Larsson, who we've seen look OK on occasions but might not have a good enough long game to stick around. Kim Huybrechts is certainly a beatable opponent, but the Belgian has got to be thinking the draw could be worse.

- de Zwaan/Kumar could be hilarious, and that is possibly the worst draw Cross could have got. It really wouldn't surprise me if the world champ falls at the first hurdle.

- Evans against Rowby could, if Rodriguez shows up, be a real highlight, and either of them can beat Cristo Reyes on current form.

- van den Bergh has a good start against Chuck Puleo, the Americans haven't been overly useful for a while now and stage Dimitri ought to come through with ease and set up a mouthwatering tie against Jonny Clayton which could go the distance.

- Humphries and Hunt could be pretty tight, Luke might have the edge but not by a massive amount, but whoever comes through should have a tough time against a resurgent Stephen Bunting.

- Searle was the last man in before Cadby withdrew, and gets Burton from the PDPA qualifier, it's one those of us that pay attention to the tour will know will be a solid game but could go under the general public's radar. Suljovic however is likely a step too far for whoever comes through.

- O'Connor can't be too displeased at getting Meeuwisse, the winner of that qualifier has been dangerous on occasions and we've seen Yordi do alright on the main tour, but Willie should have the edge and be a live dog against James Wilson.

- Meulenkamp's drawn Portela, and should be a sizeable favourite, Ron seems to be picking up a bit more consistency and it seems less and less likely that he'll allow the Brazilian enough chances to get out of the first round. Michael Smith is a really tough ask but if Ron's clicking he can easily storm a couple of sets in no time, so it won't be automatic for the St Helens native.

- Clemens has to love getting Kirk, who's been pretty weak on tour all year and Kirk having more stage experience (seems a long time ago that he beat Taylor in the UK Open now) ought to be counterbalanced by Gabriel being a much better player this season. Hendo seems like quite an even matchup assuming Clemens advances.

- Alcinas will be happy that he's got the guy that isn't Irwin in the first round who's got to be of debatable quality, but getting Peter Wright in round two isn't the nicest draw, against who he's 0-7 all time.

- Mansell's solid game should be enough to see off the Canadian qualifier Jim Long, and probably Benito as well. Can't see van de Pas having enough game to defeat Mansell's B-game right now.

- Dolan has got a good matchup against the Chinese qualifier Liu, the Chinese players used to be pretty bad but the one last year wasn't too bad and Liu beat him in the final. That said Brendan should still advance to face Cullen, which might not be a bad game.

- Dekker's got Lisa Ashton, who in the qualifier yesterday wasn't finishing legs anywhere near quickly enough often enough to make me think this isn't an automatic Dekker win, then again Dekker's incredibly prone to throwing junk for legs on end, which Ashton could exploit if it happens. Mervyn King in round two would be a solid test for Jan if he did get through, Jan's top game is probably better but we don't see it enough.

- Aspinall against Nentjes is an intriguing game between two fairly young players, Geert looked alright in the UK Open qualifiers and an England/Netherlands match is often fun to watch. Gerwyn Price on current form should handle either with little trouble though.

- de Graaf against Malicdem is one where anything can happen - we've seen that Noel can hit decent heights, as can Jeffrey, but they can both be rank average for huge periods. Could be the surprise match of the round or a donkfest. Kyle Anderson ought to be solidly favoured against whoever comes through it.

- Wayne Jones makes his return against Devon Petersen, who seems to be hanging around the circuit purely based on getting random invites and easy qualifiers to the worlds. Wayne's played much the better darts this season and if he hits his game could possibly give White trouble if White has TV jitters again.

- Finally Richard North will look to take out Marijanovic, who's not the best draw he could get by any stretch of the imagination, but one he should take out given his general better play over the year and recent increased TV experience. Steve West isn't a nice draw to get, and while it could easily be worse for the qualifiers, isn't an opponent where they should be favourites, but they'll definitely be live.

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