International Darts Open 2020 preview and schedule: Sunday afternoon session, including Van Gerwen, Suljovic and Smith
Price-less. Geddit?! Because...whatever. Gerwyn's gone, and so we'll have a different winner for the first time in three years. Two former International Darts Open winners are in the field, along with the world number one and three players who have never appeared on the Sunday schedule for a European Tour event.
Michael van Gerwen will have the chance to be the first person into the quarter-finals. The International Darts Open is the rarest of beasts; a tournament that Mighty Mike hasn't won. He wasn't at his best against Madars Razma and so he was run close for a while. Anything closer to his A-game will make Sunday afternoon more comfortable for him. It's Andy Hamilton's job to follow a narrow win over Stephen Bunting by giving the top seed a rough ride.
The second tie is one we've seen very recently, at the European Darts Grand Prix. Nathan Aspinall swatted James Wade aside in Sindelfingen, so it's on Wade to improve from his skittish victory over Andreas Harryson and get some revenge.
What a story this is turning out to be. We've got used to home nation qualifiers playing the role of doormats, particularly with highest-ranked home players qualifying separately. But Franz Roetzsch has shredded the formbook to pieces, beating Brendan Dolan and then playing the sort of game against Rob Cross that many of his compatriots can only dream of. The scary part is that Cross actually played alright - the Destroyer was just that good. Krzysztof Ratajski better watch out - though complacency doesn't seem to be part of the Pole's repertoire anyway.
Gabriel Clemens looked well-placed to make it through to Sunday, but he was denied by a ton-plus average and some ice-cold finishing. Mensur Suljovic is starting to show his top form again. In Sindelfingen, he had to pull out all the stops to deny Jamie Hughes, having been 5-0 down. Hughes gets another chance here, knowing his opponent's looking confident, and also being fairly sure that he won't have such a big lead to squander this time.
There are two ties between unseeded players. The first pits home favourite Max Hopp against an in-form Ross Smith. Hopp has got back in form and did more than enough to punish an uninspired Jose de Sousa; meanwhile Smith continued his hot streak by sending Gerwyn Price home. This could be a fantastic game if the two can keep it up, and one of them has a chance to go deep into the International Darts Open.
Dave Chisnall put together a truly excellent performance in showing Ron Meulenkamp the door. After defusing the Bomb, Chizzy now has a tough task ahead of him. Joe Cullen's win over Robert Marijanovic didn't take long, thanks to a superb 101 average. This one looks much more likely to go the distance.
Michael Smith, along with Suljovic, already knows how it feels to lift this title. After disappointing the Riesa crowd and putting Martin Schindler firmly in his place, Smith must now deal with Jesus Noguera. The Spaniard upset Ian White on Saturday meaning Smith, rather than facing his friend, has to deal with the man who vanquished him in some style.
Danny Noppert's making a name for himself as one of the star performers of 2020. The Dutchman's meteoric rise continues, and it's not exactly crazy to imagine him going all the way in Riesa. Next up for Noppie is Scott Baker, who's having one of the most successful weekends of his PDC career. All that stands between him and a record payday is a win over the new Dutch number two. Piece of cake, right?
International Darts Open 2020 schedule
Sunday October 25
12:00 Michael van Gerwen v Andy Hamilton
12:30 James Wade v Nathan Aspinall
13:00 Krzysztof Ratajski v Franz Roetzsch
13:30 Mensur Suljovic v Jamie Hughes
14:00 Ross Smith v Max Hopp
14:30 Dave Chisnall v Joe Cullen
15:00 Jesus Noguera v Michael Smith
15:30 Scott Baker v Danny Noppert