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International Darts Open

2017-09-24 00:00:00 (This report was created at 2017-09-22 10:39:09)

Before the first round draw for the International Darts Open it already looked like the bottom half of the draw is the place to be. The top half features Peter Wright, Van de Pas, Gurney, Klassen, Reyes, Chisnall, Smith and Rob Cross. That is enough for a good tournament in itself.

The bottom half sees last week’s winner and defending champion, Mensur Suljovic along with Gerwen Price, Kim Huybrechts, Ian White, Alan Norris, Joe Cullen, Whitlock and Merv King. Advantage Suljovic for me.

Not many of the players entering this tournament are bang in form and some are in very dubious form to say the least. Gerwen Price started the year in great style but he has lost five of his last ten matches, the same as Whitlock, Huybrechts and Norris while Ian White and Merv King have lost six of their last ten. All those out of form players are playing in the bottom half.

Suljovic has won seven of his last ten thanks to beating all comers in last weekend’s Champions League of Darts. He was the best player all weekend and he won in some style and made a lot of new fans. He was always going to relish coming back to the scene of his first European Tour win but coming here with a big TV win and £100k in the bank will make him very happy. Winning back to back tournaments isn’t easy; he could suffer some degree of mental let down after his big win but he is the form player in the best half of the draw.

Peter Wright is the favourite in the absence of MVG and he seems to have finally settled on a set of darts for the rest of the season. However he has last lost four of his last five matches. That is not the form of a 3/1 favourite who is the tougher half of the draw. Suljovic can be backed at 9/1, he is in better form, has won here before and he has the easier half of the draw. The biggest worry is that he is just too excited by his big win and he needs to clear his mind, get his feet back on the ground and start again from scratch. It’s a risk worth taking on a player who has been a runner up on the European Tour twice already this season.

2 points e/w Mensur Suljovic to win the International Darts Open @ 9/1 with Skybet

Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross are joint third favourite at 12/1. Both had the week off last week which is no bad thing especially for the much travelled Gurney. He lost a few matches recently by the smallest of margins. A 10-11 loss to Barney in Perth was annoying, a 6-5 loss to MVG in the Dutch Darts Masters was cruel while a slow start vs. Ian White eventually cost him the match with a 5-6 score line in Germany. Hopefully a week off will get that wee bit of sharpness back into the game and he can have a good run this weekend. He is in the harder half of the draw and will be likely to have to beat a few of the big names just to reach a quarter final. Cross faces the same problem with the draw. Dave Chisnall comes into this on the back of four straight losses and his normally good form in autumn hasn’t shown itself yet. Michael Smith is playing ok (6-4) but he has had some unimpressive wins. In his favour is that he became a father again last week so he will be happy off the board and he will be interesting to watch. However that draw quarter is very tough indeed.

Others who will be worth a watch are Super Ted Evetts a player with a great throw and plenty of potential even if he still very young and not in top form. Keegan Brown was a bright young hope a couple of years ago but things didn’t progress well for him. He does come here with seven wins from his last ten matches but he lost 1-6 to Daryl Gurney in Germany a couple of weeks ago and that may be a sign that he will still struggle vs. the elite players.

Benito Van de Pays reached the semi-final in Germany, ending a bad run of form. He has returned to an old set of darts and played much better as a result so his form will be interesting to observe again this weekend.

Other unseeded players who the seeds won’t want to face in the second round are Darren Webster and Steve Beaton. Both have won a Players Championship title recently and Beaton confirmed his good form by reaching the final of the German Darts Masters two weeks ago. He remains a very dangerous opponent. He faces Nordic qualifier Dennis Nilsson in the first round and after that Darren Gurney in the 2nd round, not ideal for either party.

Webster should have no problems getting past Luke Woodhouse in the first round and he won’t be without a chance vs. Chisnall in round two, but that puts him in the tough top half of the draw and his presence just makes it harder still.

Selected First Round Matches

Brendan Dolan vs. Andy Hamilton

Two players who are slipping down the rankings and who really could do with a win. The difference here is recent form. Dolan has hit a bit of a purple patch, winning eight of his last ten matches (including a 6-3 win over Hamilton) while it’s the exact opposite for Hamilton who has lost eight of his last ten.

2 points Dolan to win @ 8/11 generally available

Justin Pipe vs. Christian Kist

With his unique ‘style’, Justin Pips is not everybody’s cup of tea to play against. Others can handle it and Kist is one of them, beating Pipe in four of their five matches. Both are in decent form with seven wins from their last ten but Kist will fancy his chances.

2 points Christian Kist to win @ 8/11 generally available

With a frantic month coming up I am taking a weekend off so it’s unlikely there will be any further updates for this tournament. But if I see anything too good to miss I may well be moved to post it!

-JamesPunt