Three Dutch stars keep home interest alive on Sunday at the World Series of Darts Finals.
There’s a nice balance to affairs in Amsterdam. Two of the eight are from the World Series of Darts Order of Merit. Two are PDC Order of Merit qualifiers, two are Tour Card holder qualifiers and two are invitees. There’s a Pole, an Austrian, a Welshman, two Englishmen and the aforementioned Dutch trio. Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen and Danny Noppert will be backed loudly again at the AFAS Live.
None of those three play in the first of the afternoon session’s four quarter-finals, however.
Polish Eagle flying high
Krzysztof Ratajski appears in his first ever quarter-final at a televised PDC event. He’s no greenhorn, however. Ratajski has success stories to call upon from a TV major (the BDO World Masters) and a PDC stage event (the Gibraltar Darts Trophy). Mensur Suljovic is himself appearing in the World Series of Darts quarter-finals for the first time. Ratajski’s red-hot form – especially in contrast with Suljovic’s more plodding recent performance – cancels out any supposed disadvantage caused by inexperience.
Michael van Gerwen got away with one against Gerwyn Price, and he knows it. Somehow, the Green Machine has retained that incredible unbeaten record against Wales’ number one. This time around, he’ll play Wales’ number two. Jonny Clayton has ended a James Wade title defence once again, and he’ll go on the offensive against the world number one. The Dutchman showed against Price that he was susceptible, even if it was some more classic MVG brilliance that wrestled the tie away from his beleaguered opponent.
Barney rides again
Ian White might be sensing an opportunity in Amsterdam. Having survived a scare from Ricky Evans, he breezed past second seed Peter Wright. The World Series of Darts Finals, though not ranked, could be the big TV title he’s been dreaming of. Danny Noppert is definitely the tournament’s dark horse now; a 6-1 win over Gary Anderson is impressive on paper, but that scalp is tempered by the Scot’s obvious troubles. White will put on much more pressure than Anderson could, which will test the Dutchman’s resolve.
The Raymond van Barneveld fairytale isn’t over yet. Even with the Dutch crowd swayed slightly by Jermaine Wattimena being a homegrown hero, Barney still had public backing. He relished it too, averaging 101.7. He’ll have “99 per cent” of the fans behind him on Sunday, according to Dave Chisnall. Chizzy is impossible to hate – just look at that big, loveable face and even try it – but is happy to be the villain of the piece nonetheless. A repeat of Friday and Saturday’s performances will surely see him into the semi-finals.
World Series of Darts Finals schedule
Day Three, afternoon session
13:00 Mensur Suljovic v Krzysztof Ratajski
14:00 Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
15:00 Ian White v Danny Noppert
16:00 Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
Author: Ed McCosh