The last 32 of the International Darts Open takes place across the usual two sessions of action on Saturday afternoon into the evening with spaces in Sunday’s closing day the reward for the winners.
We get to see the seeded players for the first time this weekend over the course of the day and even without Michael van Gerwen in the field we should see some top quality action as the race for European Championship spots intensifies.
Kim Huybrechts gets given the job of opening up the show when he takes on the home hopeful Martin Schindler before Darren Webster takes on the awkward challenge of Mickey Mansell. Two solid pros meet in the third game of the afternoon when Mervyn King takes on Steve West before Stephen Bunting meets Barry Lynn to take us into the interval.
Gerwyn Price gets the action going after the break when he plays the popular John Henderson while another solid looking match takes to the stage as Jonny Clayton faces Steve Lennon. Dave Chisnall is in the penultimate battle of the afternoon when he plays James Richardson before two Dutchmen meet to round off the session when Jermaine Wattimena and Danny Noppert collide.
Last week’s winner Ian White begins the evening session against the competent Jelle Klaasen before Simon Whitlock takes on James Wilson in what looks one of the better matches in the evening. Max Hopp will then look to please the home crowds when he faces Steve Beaton before Joe Cullen goes up against Ross Smith.
After the break we have arguably the pick of the evening matches when Adrian Lewis goes up against Terry Jenkins before Mensur Suljovic begins his quest for another European Tour title when he faces Ryan Joyce. Peter Wright is on show in the penultimate match of the night when he plays Ryan Searle with Daryl Gurney closing the show by taking on Robert Marijanovic.
There are three bets that I like the look of on Saturday with the first being Danny Noppert to see off Jermane Wattimena. To be fair to Wattimena he has been going well this year but you never truly know what you are going to get from him with his erratic throw. You do know what you’ll get from Noppert and the Lakeside finalist could do with a run this weekend and he started it well with a decent performance on Friday. At 10/11 he needs to be taken here.
Moving into the evening and James Wilson is another worthy of support. He has caught fire in recent times with a run to the final in one of these European Tour events and he can attack Simon Whitlock with a bit of freedom as a result of that. Whitlock never truly convinces me and if Wilson can get in front early he is the sort of player who can push on and ram home his advantage. He looks a big price to me.
Finally we saw at the World Cup that Max Hopp gets inspired by a home crowd and I think he can see off Steve Beaton. Beaton did well to dispose of Vincent van der Voort on Friday but he’ll have the crowd against him here and you never know if you are going to get two good performances in a row out of Beaton. Hopp has gone quiet in terms of results in recent times but his outcomes haven’t matched his displays. If he plays well here he should have the tools to win this one.
WON – Back D.Noppert to beat J.Wattimena for a 4/10 stake at 1.90 with 888sport
Back J.Wilson to beat S.Whitlock for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with William Hill
Back M.Hopp to beat S.Beaton for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfred