The opening day of the European Darts Grand Prix takes place in Sindelfingen on Friday when 32 players take to the stage across two sessions of darts looking to book their spot in the second round and a date with a seeded player.
While we have to wait until Saturday for the likes of Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton and Luke Humphries to come to the party, there are still a number of recognisable names on show on a competitive looking Friday.
We begin the tournament with a clash between two Dutch players when Gian van Veen goes up against the more experienced Jermaine Wattimena before the Latvian number one Madars Razma takes to the stage to meet Ritchie Edhouse. The former Lakeside champion Christian Kist headlines the third match of the afternoon when he takes on Pascal Rupprecht before we reach the halfway point in the session with two seasoned campaigners facing off as Graham Usher faces Krzysztof Ratajski.
The Scottish legend Ross Montgomery begins the second half of the afternoon action when he goes up against the Finnish ace Marko Kantele before the match of the session comes along as Ian White looks to build on a positive campaign to date when he takes on Ricky Evans. The two matches to conclude the afternoon sees Keegan Brown going up against Marcel Walpen while Martijn Kleermaker meets Alan Soutar.
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The bigger names on show on Friday are about in the evening session which begins with Jose de Sousa taking on Nico Kurz, who is sure to have the home crowd behind him, before Roman Benecky takes on Adam Smith-Neale. The two Irish players in the event meet in the third match of the evening when Dylan Slevin faces Daryl Gurney before The Masters champion Chris Dobey concludes the first half of the session when he faces Graham Hall.
Two former world champions and a world finalist compete in the next three matches in the evening with Steve Beaton the first of those players on show. He meets Ricardo Pietreczko before the great Raymond van Barneveld goes up against Liam Maendl-Lawrance. The penultimate match of the day will be headlined by Simon Whitlock who meets Josh Payne before the highest ranked home player on show on the opening day concludes the action when Gabriel Clemens meets Lee Evans.
I’ll go with one bet on Friday and it comes along in the evening session where Steve Beaton might be vulnerable if not solely to Ricardo Pietreczko then a combination of him and the passionate German crowd who will surely want to see their home player progress. That doesn’t mean that Pietreczko has no chance in this match, it was only two European Tour events ago that he took the world champion Michael Smith the distance which is no bad form guide.
Beaton has been playing well this year but the results haven’t really come from that and I always think he is prone to missing some doubles and should the crowd get in his ear and get him missing those misses tend to come along in bunches. While Beaton has probably been in better form than Pietreczko, he hasn’t exactly been pulling up many trees so with the home advantage on the side of the German he could well be the one to come through.
Back R.Pietreczko to beat S.Beaton for a 3/10 stake at 1.85 with Coral