Wednesday 10 July 2019

Quarter 1 - MvG for certain, right?

So, you'd think that van Gerwen would be an automatic stroll in the park here. I'm not so sure to be honest. Steve Beaton isn't completely drawing dead - he's playing his best darts in years, and has certainly pushed van Gerwen close a couple of times on TV in the past, only losing by fairly small margins here in 2012 and 2014, although they haven't met in any format since 2017.

Adrian Lewis against Glen Durrant is an interesting one to call - Lewis's form seems to have dipped a bit in the past couple of months if you look at the rolling averages, whereas Glen has been playing extremely consistently ever since his move to the PDC, the only thing that he's really lacking is a TV or European Tour run, which he might be able to do here. If Durrant does go through, which we're thinking right now he'll do about two thirds of the time, note that his chance of making the quarters is not much less than half of his chances of making the last sixteen - he's that close to van Gerwen, who he comfortably beat in their only match up to date, although that was on the floor. Lewis has met Durrant three times in board finals on the Pro Tour this year, none of them have been blowouts but Durrant has been getting progressively better and took the third one after Adie took the first two.

van Gerwen wouldn't want to meet either of the next two in the quarters - James Wade is having his best twelve month spell in probably a decade, and has picked up four Pro Tour titles this season - in one of those he beat his opponent in the first round, Jeffrey de Zwaan, an 8-5 scoreline giving Wade a 4-0 head to head record having beaten de Zwaan three times last season, although two were in deciding legs. de Zwaan did claim a title himself after that defeat and would like to repeat the semi final he made here last year, but he's in a heck of a tough part of the draw to do that. He could certainly do with a bit of a TV run having fallen early in both the worlds and the UK Open, not having a huge amount of success in Europe is holding him back a touch.

Finally we've got Mensur Suljovic against Jermaine Wattimena. Mensur's been sliding backwards a touch, since making last year's final shortly after winning another Euro Tour event, he's not made a final of any description since. He's been playing a bit better than his performances suggest and is well capable of winning titles soon, so let's not start writing him off just yet. Jermaine is now well established in the top 32 in the world, and will want to get through this one to try to avenge his first round loss in overtime against Wade on debut last year. He has made a final this year where he lost to van Gerwen, and is showing up in the business end of floor events with some regularity, but if he's not going to break through and win something (he's yet to win any event in the PDC), he could do with at least getting out of the first round here. I'm not overly convinced about his numbers and he seems to be outperforming them somewhat, but this isn't the worst draw he could get and he could pick this one up - if his 0-5 record against Mensur doesn't continue, only one of those results really being close, but they've only met once in the past two years since Jermaine started to really progress.

In the later stages of this section, van Gerwen would surely be favourite against either Lewis or Durrant, but Glen is more than capable of taking him down over what'd still be a moderately short distance, and Adie certainly has the peak to do it, even if he hasn't really shown it recently. I'm thinking the winner of the Wade match would have an edge over the winner of the Suljovic match, James is playing a fair bit better than both players he could meet, and de Zwaan's certainly not playing at a bad level either. The quarter's another one where, while van Gerwen would still be favoured, and while we are getting to a longer distance, if it was Wade that he played (if he gets there at all), Wade would certainly be in with a strong chance of pushing him all the way.

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