Thursday 27 June 2019

Czech Darts Open preview

I was going to do a probabilities post for who might get into the Matchplay yesterday, but as it'd primarily be running Keegan Brown against a bunch of players I decided it wasn't really that interesting, and it could be academic if he draws a host nation qualifier. Here's the draw courtesy of the PDC website, and here's my thoughts:

van Gerwen/Webster section - And yes, Brown does get a home nation qualifier - they've just kicked off around 7pm local time, so that's all he has to beat to get to Blackpool. Kyle Anderson must be furious but it's obviously on him as well for not qualifying here. There isn't a name I recognise on that board so Keegan should be alright - although apart from Sedlacek and Humpula, who are in sections 4 and 2 respectively, I'd have been struggling. It's a good job he doesn't need to do more than get one win, then again it wouldn't be an unprecedented result. Oddly can't see Pavel Jirkal? Good chance for Noppert to make the Sunday, Webster's a bit out of touch, and I can't see Bellmont making much impact on a second appearance of the season.

Suljovic/Evans section - All Scottish affair in round one as youngster Borland continues his development against John Henderson, can't see past the Highlander, who might have something to say against Mensur, who's maybe dropping down the seeds a bit if he doesn't get a result here. Other section is fun, we've talked about Ratajski a lot, but Evetts is doing alright for himself and that could be a highlight game of the opening round. Evans will have his hands full against either following a pretty disappointing Pro Tour weekend.

Wright/Cullen section - That first round match would have been a lot more high profile if it was held four or five years ago, but Bunting against Thornton is high profile enough that the PDC have highlighted it. I'd think that Bunting eases through, then Wright does the same, but Stephen's shown some flashes so who knows? Not a bad draw for Dobey, the one qualifier from the Eastern Europe section may be tougher than typical, although Koltsov is the obvious name you'd think would get through, he's been taken all the way to a deciding leg by Karolina Podgorska in the opening round before getting through, so there is that. If Chris gets through that potential banana skin, whoever it is, Cullen's there for the taking in current form.

Gurney/Clayton section - O'Connor's the one to watch here. He needs a big run, and it's not the worst section he could get. A home nation qualifier is a nice warm up, then Gurney would be an extremely interesting match up with a lot on the line. The other players aren't the worst opponents either - Clayton isn't in as bad form as some people make him out to be but he's definitely not the hardest seed you could get, Wattimena could be a tough ask but apart from Denmark he's had a bit of a quiet run, while Garcia's been on the Challenge Tour for a while and makes his Euro Tour debut, so while he could be a wildcard, it is a big change of scenery as well.

White/Aspinall section - If Sedlacek gets through, we could have a nice rematch between him and White, which'd be good to see in this venue, but we're a long way off that, and Dolan's been much better over the course of 2019 and will definitely have something to say in this part of the draw. Aspinall ought to be favoured heavily in round two, Gilding and Rowby are about two of the most different players you could hope to see, both have had issues with consistency, and it'll be intriguing to see who gets through this clash of styles.

Lewis/Beaton section - That Hughes/Petersen game has enormous banker written all over it, especially at the early price that's out there, some people have been saying Devon's been playing better of late but I've really not been seeing it, his stats look incredibly similar to, say, Robert Owen, and nobody would be saying Robert's having a good season. It'd set up a rematch on the Euro Tour from last month, which Hughes won. Beaton's back in the seeds following a sustained run of excellent play, while Meulenkamp hasn't been putting up a sustained run for sure but looked much improved last weekend and when he's hot he's hot, which might spell trouble for whoever comes through the qualifier.

Wade/Smith section - This whole area is explosive. King/West is going to be good old fashioned darts, likely a lot of treble 20 damage, should be tight, West is still mathematically in the Matchplay picture but neither of these would want to draw Wade in current form. Smith will have a tantalising matchup with Corey Cadby in the second round with the young Aussie on debut - assuming Corey gets by Wessel Nijman, another player of the Dutch production line who's not done a lot this year other than getting to make his debut here, but he did win a Development Tour title last season, so must have something about him.

Price/Whitlock section - Price against Durrant would be one of the picks of round two in a rerun of a Grand Slam group game from last year and also a Euro Tour quarter final last month. Durrant would have to get past Daniel Larsson, which he should do, although Daniel can put together occasional spells which might trouble Glen. Razma against Pipe is another odd one to look at, Razma hits an extremely high number of four visit legs, but also has a lot more weak legs, but if you look at the two overall they're only separated by a tenth of a point in the averages, and both are ahead of Whitlock, so whoever can get through this early one in the order has a good chance of making it through to the last sixteen.

Bets later, I would not envisage seeing any sort of lines for the games involving qualifiers - looking at some of the early results, the standard isn't great, we have seen David Pisek take out Challenge Tour player Roman Benecky in the opener with both averaging 80 so maybe he's one to watch - it's going to take four rounds and they only have eight boards to work with by the looks of things, so that might take a while, as opposed to the Eastern Europe qualifier which doesn't have anywhere near that level of numbers and they're already underway in the quarter finals. More to follow.

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