European Championship 2020 semi-finals preview and schedule: Wade vs Petersen and Wright vs Clayton
And so we reach the European Championship endgame.
After a tournament of thrills and spills, the makeup of our final four isn't all that remarkable. James Wade, Devon Petersen, Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton have all taken different routes to end up at the same place. Now they're all a mere two victories away from a major/big TV trophy (delete as applicable, depending on how much of a traditionalist you are).
Of the quartet, only James Wade has lifted this trophy before. That was back in 2018, in a run where he never had to stick his head above the parapet of a 96 average. Wade's exceeded that number twice in his three matches so far, with the exception being a scrappy win over Steve Lennon. It was interesting to hear from the Machine that he felt the nerves in his quarter-final because frankly, William O'Connor barely laid a glove on him.
Devon Petersen's putting in a dynamite performance at the European Championship; it takes a while for the fuse to light, but eventually there's an explosion of scoring. A mediocre start against Andy Hamilton ended up being a 101 average; against Ian White, the South African looked rough, and then simply tore through his opponent. A total of 10 maximums in the quarter-final success shows what we're all well aware of, namely that his scoring is proving difficult for any player to match. If there's room for improvement, it's on the outer ring. More missed doubles could be punished by Wade.
But either way, Petersen has gone from scrapping to retain his Tour Card, to practically securing seeded status at the World Championship. It's been quite the darting year for Devon.
The world champion is probably the only player in this event who's looked good in every single mini-session. Another display of dominance sent Steve West out of contention, procuring a third European Championship semi-final for Peter Wright. He's never won one, having lost to Michael van Gerwen in 2015 and Mensur Suljovic in 2016. That 2015 reverse against van Gerwen is significant, because Wright was in similar form to this year, and was only bested by an MVG barrage.
The big question is whether Jonny Clayton has what it takes to down a man in top fettle. He's done it before, of course. So far, Clayton's produced exactly what was needed to see off the person standing in his way. Against Dirk van Duijvenbode, the Welshman just needed a little patience, pouncing in style when his rival went off the rails. Now, having far exceeded his best prior European Championship performance and adding to his UK Open semi-final, Clayton has an eye on just a second TV final. Wright is deservedly a big favourite, but in this year of all years, would you say it's a safe bet?
European Championship schedule
19:00 James Wade vs Devon Petersen
20:15 Peter Wright vs Jonny Clayton
21:30 Wade/Petersen vs Wright/Clayton