Both of last year’s European Darts Open finalists start their 2019 campaigns on Saturday evening.
Before they enter the fray, the most recent PDC Pro Tour winner kicks things off in Leverkusen. Adrian Lewis is back in the winners’ circle, having won Players Championship 8. Next in his sights is a lucrative European Darts Open win. It’s a tough start for Jackpot; he plays Dimitri van den Bergh, who is warming up for Premier League action on Wednesday. The Dream Maker crushed Ritchie Edhouse and will be a major threat to Lewis’ bid for a second ever European Tour title.
Second on the schedule are two players who have already made floor finals this year. Jermaine Wattimena went all the way at Players Championship 1. Glen Durrant did it at PC2 and PC4, winning the latter. Both are exciting, and could put on a real show here. The winner will have well and truly earned a go at either Michael van Gerwen or Mervyn King in round three.
Joe Cullen will be wary of being on the receiving end of a Dutch destruction. Vincent van der Voort, a comfortable winner over Wayne Jones, will back himself. Then comes a fiery rematch between van Gerwen and King. The pair met at the UK Open, with the Englishman a surprise winner. Mighty Mike will want revenge here in Leverkusen – and if he can keep his mouth shut afterwards, perhaps it’s for the best.
Off to the Wright start
Rob Cross is arguably the form horse of the entire European Darts Open. Voltage, on a roll in the Premier League, will be desperate for a maiden European Tour success. Steve Beaton, however, has already ended Raymond van Barneveld’s hopes. He’ll fancy doing the same to the world number two here.
Mensur Suljovic opens his 2019 European account against Matthew Dennant, who edged out Madars Razma on Friday. That’s followed by Ross Smith meeting Simon Whitlock, one day on from a resounding 6-0 thrashing of Ricky Williams.
The final match of the second round pits 2018 European Darts Open runner-up Peter Wright against 2015 runner-up Kim Huybrechts. Wright is in fact a two-time winner of this event, and tends to do very well here. Huybrechts, meanwhile, struggled against Nico Kurz and was lucky not to crash out. But Wright won’t need telling what the Belgian can do when he builds up a head of steam.
Evening session schedule
Adrian Lewis v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jermaine Wattimena v Glen Durrant
Joe Cullen v Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King
Rob Cross v Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic v Matthew Dennant
Simon Whitlock v Ross Smith
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
Author: Ed McCosh