European Darts Grand Prix 2020 preview and schedule: Saturday evening session, including Van Gerwen, Price and Aspinall
A couple of tasty rematches are among the European Darts Grand Prix fixtures on Saturday evening.
We've got some big names included on the slate in Sindelfingen, not limited to world number one Michael van Gerwen , former European Darts Grand Prix champion Mervyn King, World Grand Prix champion Gerwyn Price and Premier League Darts runner-up Nathan Aspinall . And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Krzysztof Ratajski gets the ball rolling on Saturday evening. After being handed a total quarter of death at the World Cup, this is a good chance for the Polish Eagle to give both himself and team-mate Krzysztof Kciuk a boost. Ratajski plays Martijn Kleermaker; the Dutchman absolutely won't win by repeating the performance against Markus Buffler on Friday, but the fourth seed can bank on an improvement.
Adam Hunt caused a minor surprise by running away with it against Damon Heta in round one. It'd cause a bigger tremor, should he continue that hot streak and give Rob Cross another reason to wish that 2021 would just hurry up already.
The lines between seed and non-seed blur heavily over the next couple of games. James Wade has been handed a massive task for his opening gambit; Gabriel Clemens was one of the best performers of the first round, has beaten plenty of top players on various stages this year, and will have the backing of the home faithful.
After that is the highlight of the second round. Gerwyn Price and Devon Petersen met in a barnstorming German Darts Championship tie just recently, with the South African just about shading it. Price did get the consolation prize of the World Grand Prix, mind. They come together again here for what will almost certainly be a roof-raiser.
Not many players swan in on their European Tour debut and post a 100 average, but David Evans is just in that sort of form right now. This will be a great learning experience ahead of the Englishman taking his PDC Tour Card in January - moreover, Evans will feel like he's got a great chance against a stuttering Mensur Suljovic. Maintaining the brilliant 60 per cent checkout rate from Friday's demolition of the similarly (but slightly less) impressive Kai Gotthardt would grease the wheels nicely.
Price and Petersen aren't the only pair renewing rivalries after the German Darts Championship. Michael van Gerwen was given a hammer blow when Mervyn King stuffed him 6-1 in Hildesheim. Now, if he wants to meet his good friend and confidant Vincent van der Voort in the last 16, the Dutch icon will have to reverse his fortunes. King was given the runaround by Mindaugas Barauskas and will much prefer going on the attack against a man who naturally assumes the role of favourite for every game.
Nathan Aspinall continued his meteoric rise by reaching the Premier League Darts final, even if he'll be disappointed at losing to Glen Durrant. Now he turns his attention to the European Darts Grand Prix and William O'Connor, who will want to consign the Asp to the same fate as Chris Dobey.
Closing off the second round is Germany's favourite darting son, Max Hopp. Despite being clearly superior to Pero Ljubic on Friday, Hopp just couldn't shake his opponent until the end. He'll be under siege from the outset against Vincent van der Voort, and if both can get into their stride quickly, this could be a great way to close off day two.
European Darts Grand Prix Schedule
Saturday October 17
Evening Session (18:00 GMT)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Martijn Kleermaker
Rob Cross v Adam Hunt
James Wade v Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price v Devon Petersen
Mensur Suljovic v David Evans
Michael van Gerwen v Mervyn King
Nathan Aspinall v William O'Connor
Vincent van der Voort v Max Hopp