The European Tour continues this weekend when the action heads to the Czech Republic for the Czech Darts Open, the sixth event of the European calendar which takes us almost to the halfway mark in the season.
Jamie Hughes won this tournament when it was last held three years ago but he hasn’t qualified for the event this year so we are guaranteed a new name on the trophy. Michael van Gerwen goes in search of a fourth European Tour event success of the year.
2019 – Jamie Hughes
We’ve already had the round where the qualifiers meet each other so we are left with 32 players in the tournament. Saturday sees the 16 seeds playing a qualifier in the last 32 for the right to make it through to the final day on Sunday. The afternoon session sees the last 16 played out while the evening session begins with the quarter finals. The event up to the end of the quarter finals is the best of 11 legs before the best of 13 semi-finals and then the champion is crowned over the best of 15 legs.
The top half this weekend has the second seed as the leading player in it and despite the fact he has already won three of these things that is Michael van Gerwen. He will fancy his chances of making it all the way once again not least because the other high seed in this half is the grossly out of form Jose de Sousa. The other seeds are Michael Smith, the runner up in Germany last week in Dimitri Van den Bergh, winner in an earlier European Tour event in Luke Humphries, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Premier League leader Jonny Clayton and Brendan Dolan.
One of the qualifiers in this section is Nathan Aspinall which is almost beyond belief. He will be joined in this half by a couple of the home stars in Karel Sedlacek and Vitezslav Sedlak while Rowby-John Rodriguez has also made it into the last 32 of the tournament. The other four qualifiers in this half are the runner up of an earlier European Tour event in Martin Lukeman. Martijn Kleermaker, Jose Justicia and Mickey Mansell complete the top half of the draw.
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The number one seed this week is Gerwyn Price and he’ll be looking to make good headway in the bottom half of the draw and follow up his success in the Premier League on Thursday evening. On the face of it he looks to have picked up a nice half of the draw too because the inconsistent Joe Cullen is the next highest seed while Rob Cross, Krzysztof Ratajski, Daryl Gurney, Damon Heta, Ryan Searle and Martin Schindler make up the seeded players this weekend.
Dave Chisnall is probably the most famous of the qualifiers in this bottom half of the draw. Ross Smith is another who has made it through while the home crowds will be right behind Adam Gawlas this weekend. Speedsters Jules van Dongen and Ricky Evans will also be gracing the stage this weekend as will Ritchie Edhouse, Adrian Lewis and the crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort who might have hit the jackpot with the draw as he has the lowest ranked seed Schindler.
There isn’t a huge amount of value in the draw this week but it is pretty clear that the top half of it is not the place to be so I’m going to take one outright bet and that will come in the bottom half. Rob Cross looks like he has found himself in a nice section with the highest seed in the quarter being Joe Cullen who might well have bigger fish to fry than this over the next few days as he looks to make it into the final four of the Premier League. Before Cross would meet him it could be a clash with Krzysztof Ratajski.
Cross hasn’t pulled up too many trees in 2022 but he remains a quality operator who has run into some tough draws or been edged out in some tough situations as well. There is no doubt that Cross has the quality to win events of this kind though and with a draw about as good as he could get this weekend I expect him to make the most of it. His toughest challenge prior to the final could well be Gerwyn Price, but like Cullen, Price has Premier League business to deal with and might not care much for a deep run here.
Back R.Cross to win Czech Darts Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)
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