Thursday 1 December 2022

(10) Aspinall, (24) Krcmar, (AsCh) Suzuki

Nathan Aspinall - FRH #7, 711-572 (55.42%), 92.04 scoring (#19), 3.75 consistency
Boris Krcmar - FRH #57, 293-299 (49.49%), 90.65 scoring (#34), 4.36 consistency
Toru Suzuki - FRH #145, 14-15 (48.28%), 79.39 scoring (#89), 10.56 consistency

Krcmar's had another fairly solid season, and will make his third straight world championships through the Pro Tour, finishing comfortably enough inside the cutoff. His scoring is pretty decent and has been for a while, the main problem he has had in the past is converting decent floor form into results on TV, but maybe got out of that funk a bit this season with a main result of a run to the last sixteen of the UK Open, defeating Lerchbacher, Woodhouse and Chisnall all fairly comfortably, before losing out by an odd break to James Wade. Added to this was an alright season of form on the Euro Tour, making four events and not losing in the first round in any of them, from round two onwards he lost a decider to van Duijvenbode, took out van den Bergh and Meikle before losing another decider to Noppert, eliminating Luke Humphries then losing to Dave Chisnall, then finally running into an inspired Adrian Lewis. Another couple of grand would have got him to the European Championship, so was quite close to another TV appearance. He's still some way away from being anything other than best known as a soft tip player, but the numbers don't lie, he's a very dangerous steel tip opponent.

Suzuki is back for a second crack at the worlds, returning after a one year absence. Two years prior he lost out to Madars Razma in straight sets, although all three sets did go the distance at least. He averaged 81 there, which probably isn't going to crack someone with the quality of Krcmar, but is here more recently through the Asian Championship. There he only averaged 75 and 77 in the group stage but wasn't helped by his opponents there at all, but did manage an average in the 90's to nick a deciding leg against Paul Lim in the last sixteen, before reverting to the mean and taking out Yuki Yamada (who we saw last year) 6-5 with a sub-80 average. That was enough to get him here as all the semi finalists qualified, he would lose that semi final 6-3 to Paolo Nebrida, this time not averaging even 75. A similar average was seen at the World Cup, but he would obviously only be partially responsible for that. I think the key to the first round game is that he also plays soft tip, so will likely have played Krcmar before there. That Boris has a bunch of titles and Toru not so much points us to where this one should be going.

The winner will play Nathan Aspinall, who has had a very strong back end to the season after a dangerous injury scare in the first half of the year, which might have seen him out of the game for some time, possibly even being a career threatening one. Thankfully a little bit of time off would be enough, and his results as of late have been of the quality that he should be in the conversation for one of the last couple of spots for the Premier League. The good run started at the Matchplay with a quarter final run, eliminating Humphries and Wade, then nearly completing a huge comeback against van Gerwen only for the finishing line to arrive just in time. After that, it's been even better - two finals, both lost - the first in the Grand Prix where again he tried to come from behind against MvG turning a 4-0 set deficit into an eventual 5-3 loss, the second would be in the Slam where he admittedly ran out of steam and couldn't stand the level that Michael Smith was throwing. He's at least got some silverware in the way of a couple of Pro Tour titles, and but for being in the same section as Josh Rock, would be a very tempting each way bet. He should certainly have enough to handle Krcmar - I'm projecting Boris will give him a tough match on season long data and have approaching 40% of the wins, but I think in reality with the relative trends of both players it might be a bit more one sided than that.

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