After a thrilling World Cup of Darts last weekend, the European Tour is back in swing this week as plenty of the leading players in the world head to Copenhagen for the Danish Darts Open, the eighth qualifying event for the European Championship later in the year.
This is the second time this tournament has been staged with Mensur Suljovic winning the inaugural running of it. The Austrian is here to defend his title in an open looking event given that Michael van Gerwen is allowing himself the weekend off.
2018 – Mensur Suljovic
We are using the same format as last season for these tournaments which means that the last 32 of the tournament is played over two sessions of action on Saturday, with the last 16 on Sunday afternoon and the quarter finals on Sunday night. They are all the best-of-11 legs with the semi-finals also on Sunday evening. They are the best-of-13 and then the final in the same session is the best-of-15 legs. The draw has been pre-determined and is played in a straight knockout format.
It is the second seed who heads up the top half of the draw this week and that means that Daryl Gurney is the highest seed in this section of proceedings. Gerwyn Price is the next highest but to be fair there are some tasty other seeded players who will all be looking to take advantage of the absence of MVG. They are Stephen Bunting, Peter Wright, Joe Cullen, Rob Cross, Ricky Evans and Darren Webster.
You would have to say that the level of qualifiers in this half of the draw isn’t the best we’ve ever seen. They are headlined by the man who had such a good World Cup in William O’Connor. Chris Dobey is another eye catching name but there isn’t much with the rest. They are Ryan Harrington, Cody Harris, Kevin Burness, Kirk Shepherd, Ryan Joyce and Jose De Sousa.
Ian White is the top seed in the draw this week and so he headlines this part of the draw. He still isn’t getting the recognition he deserves so he might feel that he has something to prove here. He will have to play well if he is going to win this tournament as there are some good seeded players up against him. They are James Wade, Jonny Clayton, Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock, Mensur Suljovic, Dave Chisnall and Jermaine Wattimena.
Michael Smith heads up the qualifiers in the bottom half which shows both how his year has, or hasn’t started, and how competitive this field is in places. UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall is another standout qualifier this week with the rest of the field being made up by Dennis Nilsson, Per Laursen, Kyle Anderson, Gabriel Clemens, Krzysztof Ratajski and Martin Schindler.
I’ll play a couple this week. I’m leaving the very top of the market alone as nearly everyone who is anyone looks really short and actually the market is a bit of a disgrace in that way. Five different players are single figures and another three are 14/1 or shorter which is scandalous actually.
Nathan Aspinall should be ready to win again this week. We are heading towards the major season and he has already qualified for most of them so he should be targeting adding something big to his CV on top of his UK Open success so he should have been putting in plenty of practice. That showed on Friday when he averaged over a ton in his win and with Simon Whitlock his opponent in the last 32 it could have been a lot worse for him. We know Aspinall can go deep in these events and at 20/1 there is just enough juice in him to have a big week.
William O’Connor should be flying coming into this weekend given his performances at the World Cup last week and at 100/1 I can’t resist a cheeky punt on him to go well here. He has already won a tour event on the floor this year and he made the final of a European Tour event last year so he has the pedigree. He has the form as well and at a three figure price he is well worth a small each way bet to see just how close he goes to the title in a wide open draw.
Back N.Aspinall to win Danish Darts Open (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 21.00 with Boylesports (1/2 1-2)
Back him here:
Back W.O’Connor to win Danish Darts Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)