The minutes are counting down until Alexandra Palace opens its doors to the darting world for the PDC World Darts Championship and before the biggest event of the year gets underway we have enough time to look for at the bottom quarter of the draw.
This is the section of the draw where the man of the moment and the tournament favourite Luke Humphries is housed but he would be treading new territory to reach the semi-final of this event, which will be music to the ears of the others in the quarter.
(3) Luke Humphries v Lee Evans/Sandro Eric Sosing
(30) Callan Rydz v Ricardo Pietreczko/Mikuru Suzuki
(14) Joe Cullen v Jules van Dongen/Darren Penhall
(19) Ryan Searle v Ian White/Tomoya Goto
(6) Nathan Aspinall v Ricky Evans/Simon Adams
(27) Daryl Gurney v Steve Beaton/Wessel Nijman
(11) Dave Chisnall v Cameron Menzies/Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
(22) Gabriel Clemens v Gian van Veen/Man Lok Leung
As with the other quarters, I’ve made a red and green half to make it easier to decipher. The red section this year is clearly all about Luke Humphries. He has won three TV tournaments in the last couple of months or so and looks very much like the one to beat. This is a different kettle of fish though and he will be under a lot of pressure here. Joe Cullen and Ryan Searle are certainly capable of going with him while Callan Rydz can be special on his say. There are a couple of qualifiers in the red zone to keep an eye on too in Ricardo Pietreczko, who might be the best of the qualifiers, and the veteran Ian White. Mikuru Suzuki will get plenty of attention too.
It is easy to forget that we have the World Matchplay winner in this quarter with Nathan Aspinall heading up the green section. Aspinall made the final of the World Series Finals as well this year so he has plenty of TV form behind him and he is certainly fresh having not played the Players Championship Finals. Dave Chisnall is scheduled to face him in the fourth round but his TV form in 2023 has been terrible, unlike his floor and Euro Tour form. Gabriel Clemens shouldn’t be ignored given that he won a quarter which included Gerwyn Price in this event a year ago while Daryl Gurney isn’t a mug. Gian van Veen is the qualifier to look out for in the green zone but Wessel Nijman was considered a talent before his ban.
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As you would expect, Luke Humphries is a warm order to win this quarter and there is a very good reason for that but while he is playing brilliantly right now, if you look at his runs in these TV events he has won recently, Peter Wright had match darts against him in the World Grand Prix quarter final but missed them, Gary Anderson led him 8-4 at the same stage of the Grand Slam while James Wade was 7-6 up on him in a race to 10 at the Players Championship. Credit must go to Humphries for rescuing all of those positions but in the nuance of set play he isn’t guaranteed to be so fortunate here.
I think the 7/1 on Nathan Aspinall is a little insulting here. He has won the second biggest ranking event in the game and the longer the format got in that nobody really touched him. You could see the same happening here up until the quarter final as well. There is no guarantee that Aspinall faces Humphries in the quarter final but if he does he is never a 7/1 shot to beat him over nine sets. Unlike Humphries, Aspinall has twice won his quarter in this tournament and he might well have done it again last year had ‘The Asp’ not come out on the wrong side of a belter of a third round match with Josh Rock in a deciding set. Aspinall has won both of the long format matches he has played with Humphries, and both were last year so they are relevant, which makes me think the value in this quarter is the Matchplay champion.
Back N.Aspinall to win Quarter 4 for a 2/10 stake at 8.00 with Coral