World Series of Darts Finals 2020 preview and schedule: Saturday September 19
The seeds get involved for a busy second day of World Series of Darts Finals action.
There was plenty of excitement on day one in Salzburg, notably in Jeff Smith's match against Fallon Sherrock. After being pushed to the very brink, the Silencer somehow clawed the game back. A very tidy 109 checkout sealed the deal for him in the end. That polishes off a little run of defeats for Smith - now comes a tough challenge in the form of reputed win-grinder James Wade . Coming back from 5-1 down isn't likely to be an option against the Machine.
Nathan Aspinall produced one of the highlights of the 2019 World Series when he stormed to victory in Las Vegas. He's become a staple of every big stage event; the Asp will be competing for the Premier League Darts title soon. Before that, he will have to manoeuvre past Darius Labanauskas, who had a fairly easy time of it when professionally dispatching Harry Ward yesterday.
Oceanic giant-killers target more scalps
Cody Harris wasn't just in Salzburg to make up the numbers. Sure, Dave Chisnall is an anaemic shadow of his best self right now. But let's credit the New Zealander instead, who once again showed a steely nerve on the big stage. It's clear that Harris will be on the Pro Tour at some point, so notching up more tournament experience will always be a boon. He's got another underperforming opponent in his sights too; Daryl Gurney hasn't fully been at the races recently. If Harris can keep up with Gurney's scoring pace, he could really make the seventh seed sweat.
That's followed by the match which can best be described as the preamble for some cracking interviews. Alright, Gerwyn Price and Vincent van der Voort are both excellent, score-smashing machines. Yeah, yeah, we get it. Get this match done, stick a microphone in their faces, give Price his social media passwords back. Let's see what happens.
Rob Cross and Steve Beaton then duel in an all-English tie. Beaton finally has a World Series of Darts Finals win, having eventually come out on top in a seesaw tussle with Simon Whitlock on Friday. Cross, meanwhile, has suffered badly in the Premier League, and produced nothing of note from the various floor events or a forgettable World Matchplay defence. A quarter-final berth would mean a lot to whoever can prevail here.
Damon Heta benefitted from what's becoming the patented Ian White stage willies (patent name 'White Knuckle' is pending). That being said, the Aussie deserves maximum credit for overcoming some poor finishing at the start, to round off the match with a 108 finish and a 14-darter. That's good stuff in any context, let alone when trailing 5-4 in a first-to-six stage match. The format lends itself to a shock, but with world champion Peter Wright stepping up to the plate, complacency can open the door to an embarrassing scoreline. Snakebite, unsurprisingly, has been tipped by many to take the title.
More Duzza delight for van Gerwen?
Michael van Gerwen used to win the Premier League group stage all the time - then Glen Durrant came along. By that logic, who better to curtail the hopes of the man who has won four out of five World Series of Darts Finals? One big plus for van Gerwen is he's looking a lot sharper than when Duzza did for him twice in the Premier League; he even beat Durrant in the Autumn Series, marking his first win over a brand new nemesis.
From one Michael, to another. And it's another Michael who faces the sharp end of the unseeded bunch - Krzysztof Ratajski is a nasty opponent for Michael Smith to have. The Pole has become one of the most consistent scorers in the game, and utilised all of that talent when defying a ton-plus-hitting Mensur Suljovic and the Austrian crowd. This will be chock-full of big scores; you'd expect that this game will hinge on composure when throwing for the outer ring.
Click here for more information about the World Series of Darts Finals, including the tournament bracket, prize money breakdown and TV Guide.
Schedule World Series of Darts Finals 2020
Saturday September 19 (1900 BST)
19:15 James Wade v Jeff Smith
19:45 Nathan Aspinall v Darius Labanauskas
20:15 Daryl Gurney v Cody Harris
20:45 Gerwyn Price v Vincent van der Voort
21:15 Rob Cross v Steve Beaton
21:45 Peter Wright v Damon Heta
22:15 Michael van Gerwen v Glen Durrant
22:45 Michael Smith v Krzysztof Ratajski