The final day of the European Darts Matchplay begins with a repeat of the last European Tour event’s final.
Michael van Gerwen met Mensur Suljovic at the climax of the Austrian Darts Championship, aiming for a third title on the bounce. Instead it was the Gentle who rose to the occasion. Now his European Darts Matchplay hopes hinge on seeing off Mighty Mike at an earlier stage. Both were impressive against strong opponents on Saturday. It could be seriously tight.
The same is true of most of these ties on paper – a direct result of 14 of the 16 seeds going through. Adrian Lewis, after making light work of Dirk van Duijvenbode, faces a tough test in the form of Krzysztof Ratajski. Then comes a reunion between World Matchplay semi-finalists. Rob Cross garnered a memorable comeback win over Daryl Gurney in Blackpool. Perhaps Superchin will have his revenge in Mannheim.
The fourth tie is one of two all-English affairs. Dave Chisnall and Ricky Evans dispatched Ryan Meikle and Karsten Koch respectively, both in double-quick time. Then again, that’s how all of Evans’ games tend to go. Ian White avoided a major banana skin in German hopeful Gabriel Clemens; his reward is a clash with Jonny Clayton. European Darts Matchplay success would be a fantastic way for the Diamond to regain his sparkle.
Two non-seeds left standing
Wayne Jones has established himself as the dark horse of the European Darts Matchplay. The Black Country thrower wasn’t the favourite against Jeffrey de Zwaan, but won in style. The same diagnosis was given before he met Nathan Aspinall, and he achieved the same result. James Wade won’t be fooled by Jones’ underdog status.
William O’Connor is the other unseeded player, alongside Jones, to make it to Sunday. After battling past Max Hopp, the Irish star downed Peter Wright in a deciding leg. O’Connor’s love affair with the European Darts Matchplay rolls on. And so it falls to Joe Cullen, an impressive 6-3 Saturday winner over Jamie Hughes, to stop him in his tracks.
The final tie of the afternoon session pits Gerwyn Price against Glen Durrant. Both won 6-3 yesterday, Price seeing off Simon Stevenson and Durrant halting Cody Harris in his tracks. The Welshman’s superb 102 average in that win over Stevenson might give him a mental edge. But Duzza is easily capable of matching that sort of performance.
European Darts Matchplay schedule
Sunday afternoon session
Michael van Gerwen v Mensur Suljovic
Adrian Lewis v Krzysztof Ratajski
Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
Dave Chisnall v Ricky Evans
Ian White v Jonny Clayton
James Wade v Wayne Jones
William O’Connor v Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price v Glen Durrant
Author: Ed McCosh