Friday 15 April 2022

Ten things to watch for in ET3

Ah, this is the one that starts on a Saturday, so we've already got a draw out and can have a bit of a look in advance. Will posts up bets this evening, possibly Saturday morning. Will hold off on new FRH rankings until after Munich is done, but I do hope that if anyone read the previous post, they were able to pick out Aspinall last weekend and get a nice payday. So, without further ado, what to watch for:

1) Can anyone stop MvG reaching the final?

Looks to be a much easier half than the top half which has got both the other big two, Clayton, Heta and quite a few of the more dangerous qualifiers. Cross will be a potential last 16 danger (if he gets through Sedlacek which is in no way guaranteed), but this looks like a great chance for van Gerwen to add to his Euro Tour total. Ironically the toughest match could be against a possible Chris Dobey first up if he beats John O'Shea, assuming Dobey gets a couple of dodgy weeks out of his system.

2) Who out of Krcmar and Woodhouse will win?

A little bit of an odd one for number 2, but this one jumped off the page to me. Two players in the lower reaches of the top 64, who we know are capable of putting up great performances but have yet to kick on, particularly Boris in stage events. I'm not sure who'll take this, but it's going to be a fascinating tie to watch.

3) Can Hopp save his card?

Max is in a world of trouble to try to sort this one out, barely holding it last season and down twenty grand in the race as it stands. Soutar's a tough first round ask, but maybe not playing quite as well as he was twelve months ago, so it's not an impossible ask for Hopp on home soil, and Dimitri in round two isn't the hardest seed he could potentially play. Making bank at these Euro Tours seems to be the only real way for him to avoid Q-School.

4) Can Schindler make a run?

Another German thing to watch out for, Martin's been getting deeper and deeper into Pro Tours, and doesn't have the worst of draws - Wattimena's getting a little bit better and can be dangerous, but Dolan as a seed in round two is by no means the worst, and while Searle can be an awfully tricky opponent, it is not out of Martin's capabilities to win that one.

5) Meikle v Chisnall should be fun

This is another first round game that jumps off the page. Dave we know can play incredible stuff, but has dropped a touch under the radar since his worlds semi final, while Ryan is also an incredibly capable player, this is one of those where if they both click we could see a 105 average lose. It's also one where if Ryan doesn't turn up and Dave misses some doubles, they could both be down in the eighties. We just don't know what we'll get.

6) Can Sedlacek do anything?

Karel's in the middle of an amazing purple patch right now where he's made a bunch of Euro Tours and looks very threatening, and is the recipient of a bye after the confusing withdrawal of Krzysztof Ratajski, so will go straight into a second round game against Rob Cross, with the winner to play MvG (probably). This is a real chance to set out a marker as to how good his game really is against a multiple major champion, with the opportunity to then face one of the best in the world. It'd be great to see.

7) What will Baggish do?

I am not sure whether this is Danny's first Euro Tour, but I think it is. He's always seemed a bit more comfortable on the stage and hasn't truly replicated what he's capable of there on the floor - so this ought to be a decent spot with a favourable draw against the associate qualifier Junghans, who's not an unfamiliar name, but not one I've seen for a bit of time to be honest.

8) Could it be Smith's time?

I talked first about how van Gerwen could easily walk the bottom half, but let's talk about his opposing quarter briefly. This looks like a really good opportunity for him. As the number 3 seed, he has either Larsson, who won the Nordic/Baltic qualifier, or van Peer first up, which has to be said to be fairly favourable, then the other seed in his quarter are Humphries directly opposite, then Cullen or van Duijvenbode. None of these are gimmies (particularly if Dirk plays like he did when winning another Pro Tour where he looked unstoppable), but it is avoiding the truly big names, and they are the sorts of games where if Smith is to take himself seriously, he should be putting away. Then, from the semi finals onwards, who knows?

9) Any other qualifiers to watch?

Martin Lukeman's been making a bit of a name for himself and we've picked up on him a few times, he gets the exciting young Czech, Adam Gawlas (surely their country finally wins a game at the World Cup this year), then gets the promoted #16 seed in Gabriel Clemens. Decent opportunity. Keane Barry gets Lukas Wenig then Gerwyn Price if he gets through that, you would think Keane gets through and could give Price a solid test. Huybrechts against Razma with the winner to face de Sousa is interesting, de Zwaan's shown a little bit of a return but a Dutch derby against van der Voort is extremely tricky for a first round game. Jim Williams doesn't have a bad draw, getting perennial associate qualifier Wesley Plaisier before Joe Cullen. I think most of the others that could do damage have already been mentioned.

10) Seeds in danger?

Dolan against Schindler or Wattimena has to be one. Clemens against Lukeman is another tough ask. Heta isn't a name you'd normally expect to see in this sort of list, but assuming Barney beats James Wilson (is he injured again?), then it's not the sort of name you can take for granted. Clayton is not a guaranteed win against either Chisnall or Meikle. If Soutar or Hopp show their best, either could take out Dimitri. As mentioned in the above paragraph, de Sousa could easily struggle against Huybrechts or Razma. van Gerwen against a peak Dobey is one that ought to be much, much closer than the market would say, question is if we get a peak Dobey. Cross can't take Sedlacek lightly. Dirk's looking really good of late, but would not be a guaranteed win against either opponent. This could be one where we see lots of seeds fall, maybe half the field or close to a European Tour record, would need quite a few things to fall into place, but the chances are there.

Check back within 24 hours for first round tips. Also huge congrats to Neil Duff and Beau Greaves for closing out the WDF titles, there were some great games in the later stages that are well worth viewing.

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