Thursday 13 June 2019

Danish Darts Open

Draw is out - we knew van Gerwen was giving this one a miss already, so it's completely wide open. Can't remember the last time that the favourite in a PDC event was 6/1, and such is the strength in depth of the field, there's twelve players that are shorter than 20's in one place or another - with plenty of other players who are outside that bracket who have the game within them to go out and grab this title. Let's look at the draw and see what's going down:

Gerwyn Price v Ryan Harrington/HNQ2
Stephen Bunting v Cody Harris/Teuvo Haverinen
Peter Wright v Luke Woodhouse/Willie O'Connor
Joe Cullen v Glen Durrant/Kevin Burness

This might be the weakest section of the draw, if only because it's got a couple of weak seeds and a cluster of weaker qualifiers. Price ought to be a strong favourite to make Sunday, Harrington's here for a second straight Euro Tour event, but got steamrolled last time out by someone who's probably not much better than whoever the home nation qualifier is, if at all. Bunting could have a few issues with Harris, if Cody's able to get past Haverinen, who's been around the Scandi scene for a while now but is making a debut here. Wright's got a tough draw whoever he plays - it's a potential rematch from the World Cup final if O'Connor is able to get through, but counting Luke Woodhouse out based on last weekend would be a dangerous thing to do in what's a very strange choice for first match up. Finally we've got Joe Cullen, who seems devoid of form, and Glen Durrant isn't the sort of player you want to face in those situations, with Burness being over 11 points behind Glen on seasonal points per turn you can't see the Tom Kirby winner pulling this one off.

Rob Cross v Kirk Shepherd/Vincent van der Voort
Ricky Evans v Steve West/Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney v Jose Perales/Ryan Joyce
Darren Webster v Jose de Sousa/Scott Taylor

Tournament favourite Rob Cross is in a tricky part of the draw, Vincent van der Voort is having a solid season, averaging solidly and well capable of pulling off the upset, he should get by Shepherd who's not done a great deal since regaining his tour card. Evans will have his hands full in the opening game, but who he'll play and who'd be the favourite in round two is tough - all of Evans, Dobey and West are averaging 90 or 91 per turn this season, maybe the pressure is more on West who really needs a run to force his way into Matchplay contention. Second seed Gurney has an alright game, Perales/Justicia having had one good weekend this season but nothing outside of that, while Joyce hasn't really hit the heights he did last season but should be just about good enough to beat the Spaniard. Webster's been looking vulnerable and went out early last time out, and this isn't a gimmie draw - Taylor showed what he can do in the UK Open and made a Pro Tour quarter recently, while de Sousa is scoring over 90 per turn this season, making either a tricky task for Darren.

James Wade v Dennis Nilsson/Steve Lennon
Jonny Clayton v Reece Robinson/HNQ1
Adrian Lewis v Mike de Decker/Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock v Mick Todd/Nathan Aspinall

Wade's been looking really good this season, and his first game will feature a World Cup player - Nilsson probably being the dog, but he did reach Sunday of the previous Euro Tour event, while Lennon has been a bit quiet in ranking events but putting up solid stats, showing how he's playing in Hamburg. Clayton ought to advance, Robinson hasn't really got out of neutral since winning his card, UK Open aside, and it's a second game where the domestic qualifier has a chance. Adrian Lewis will have a tough game - Mike de Decker has been cleaning up in the associate qualifiers, while Kyle Anderson badly needs results to get to Blackpool, the stats are top 16 level, better than Lewis, he just needs to convert to results. Finally we have one of the weakest seeds in Simon Whitlock, and while Todd was very good in the first Challenge Tour weekend, he wasn't in the second and Nathan Aspinall should easily be favoured to make the final day out of these three.

Mensur Suljovic v Gabriel Clemens/Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski/Krzysztof Kciuk
Ian White v Kim Viljanen/Martin Schindler
Jermaine Wattimena v Steve Beaton/Michael Smith

This section really shows the strength in depth of the qualifiers in this event. Defending champion Suljovic needs a result to avoid slipping down the Pro Tour ranks enough that he might not even be seeded, and it's a harsh opener - Gabriel Clemens and Mervyn King are both in the knife fight to get into the Matchplay, King probably with enough in the bank while Gabriel has work to do, there's little to separate them statistically and they are not too far behind Mensur either. Chisnall doesn't have an easy opener, facing the winner of the Krzysztof derby, hilariously placed at the end of the afternoon session so the ref will have a field day - Ratajski ought to get through, and a game against Dave would be too close to call, but Kciuk has beaten Ratajski in a big game before, so who knows? Ian White's looking for a third straight win and a fifth straight final on the Euro Tour, he's not got the worst opponent whoever it is, Viljanen is competent but probably lacks the scoring to stay with Ian, while Schindler is playing a little better than his results suggest but is certainly out of form. Finally we have Wattimena against the winner of a ridiculous opening round game between Steve Beaton and Michael Smith - Beaton's hoovering up all the qualification wins and is playing at a level comparable to someone like Adrian Lewis right now, Smith's averaging a couple of points better than Beaton per turn, and Jermaine, despite being the Dutch number 2 and despite putting up nice consistent results, is worse than either player on the numbers. If Wattimena gets into Sunday evening he'll certainly have earned it.

Bets to come later, they're only out already from a handful of bookies and we're waiting on the domestic qualifiers to finish as well, they're only playing on four boards for just short of 40 players with just a dozen games in the bag as of right now, so with multiple averages below 70 and some winning averages in the 50's, this could take a while.

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