If every Czech Darts Open is like this, can we come to Prague every week?

The first ever Saturday sessions of the Czech Darts Open have definitely set the bar very high. It had it all; a stupendous nine-darter. 11 of the 16 seeds all tumbling out on the same day. Comebacks. Missed chances. Andrew Gilding’s thumbs-up. It really doesn’t get any better. Unless Sunday can provide more magic, that is.

Not many people beat Michael van Gerwen, full stop. So for Keegan Brown to have dumped the world number one out of two European Tour events in one year is some going. A last-leg decider saw Brown through (again, it’s rare to see van Gerwen on the receiving end at all). He’s now headed for the World Matchplay. Continuing a strong Czech Darts Open run would rubber-stamp it. He meets Danny Noppert, who turned over Darren Webster having trailed 4-3.

Mensur Suljovic sauntered past a badly out-of-sorts John Henderson on Saturday. He’ll get no favours from Ted Evetts, who has been a model of consistency in wins over Krzysztof Ratajski and Ricky Evans – two players who are no cinch. That’s followed by Chris Dobey hoping to continue fine recent form when going up against Peter Wright’s vanquisher, Stephen Bunting.

Fourth seed Daryl Gurney will play Bunting or Dobey in the quarter-finals – but only if he can outgun the Machine Gun, Jermaine Wattimena.

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Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Shine on, you crazy Diamond

Ian White beat a formidable opponent on Saturday. Not Karel Sedlacek (though Sedlacek is of course a very good player). It was the Czech crowd who the Diamond needed to overcome, and he did so in style. It’s another step on the road to being the big stage player he knows he can be. As second seed, he’s the favourite on paper. Andrew Gilding, currently poking around on the Challenge Tour, is the rank outsider. Still, Gilding is in excellent form. White better beware Goldfinger’s Midas touch.

Jamie Hughes might have been expecting a challenge against Adrian Lewis. He didn’t get one. Yozza won’t mind a jot, as he’s into the final day of a European Tour event. Similarly, Ron Meulenkamp’s win over Steve Beaten was conspicuous for its inconspicuousness. It was a little too easy. With a lot on the line, neither can expect another smooth ride.

Now this is what we like to see. King meets King in a royal rumble at the Czech Darts Open. Corey Cadby battled brilliantly to a narrow win over Michael Smith, topped off with an ice-cool 14-dart leg in the decider. Mervyn King landed six of his seven darts at the double in a glorious walloping of James Wade. Soon the King shall be dead; long live the King. But which is which?

The session is ended by the rarest of beasts; a meeting between two seeds. At 3-0 down against Glen Durrant, Gerwyn Price was eyeing the exit door. Less than half an hour later he’d won 6-4, a ton average and a historic nine-dart finish tucked in his pocket. Incredibly, we’ve now had a joint-record numbers of PDC nine-darters in a calendar year. And it’s not even July, people. Price may feel that this is his title to lose but after earning a win over Justin Pipe the hard way, Simon Whitlock is battle-ready.

The Czech Darts Open kicks off on Sunday at 12pm BST.

Afternoon session schedule:

12:00 Keegan Brown v Danny Noppert
12:30 Mensur Suljovic v Ted Evetts
13:00 Stephen Bunting v Chris Dobey
13:30 Daryl Gurney v Jermaine Wattimena
14:00 Ian White v Andrew Gilding
14:30 Jamie Hughes v Ron Meulenkamp
15:00 Mervyn King v Corey Cadby
15:30 Gerwyn Price v Simon Whitlock

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Author: Ed McCosh