The Austrian Darts Open gets underway on Friday when the 32 qualifiers take to the stage in Graz as the first round plays out over two sessions with everyone on show looking to make their way through to a date with one of the seeded players on Saturday.
As ever in a European Tour event we have to wait until day two for the true big names to come to the party but we still have a number of recognisable players taking to the stage on Friday including the home star Mensur Suljovic.
We get underway with one of the surprise winners of a Players Championship event in Danny Jansen taking to the stage. He will meet the unheralded Radek Szaganski before one of the ties of the round gets going as the competent Dutch player Wesley Plaisier takes on a Matt Campbell who made the final of a Players Championship event recently. The former world finalist Jim Williams is third onto the stage. He will take on Berry van Peer and we get taken into the interval by the talented youngster Josh Rock and the entertaining Devon Petersen.
Speaking of entertainers, another one brings us out of the interval when Ricky Evans takes on Johan Engstrom before Madars Razma takes to the stage for a clash against Michael Rasztovits. There are two matches left in the afternoon and two good to watch players meet in the penultimate game as Steve Beaton takes on the recent WDF World Championship semi-finalist Cameron Menzies. Ian White concludes the afternoon when he meets Patrik Gosnak.
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There are a number of good names in the evening session and one of those is the World Championship quarter finalist Callan Rydz. He meets the home qualifier Dietmar Burger before the WDF World Championship finalist Thibault Tricole takes on Zoran Lerchbacher. Gabriel Clemens flirts with being a seed in these things but he isn’t this weekend and he’ll start out against Tony Martinez. Two Dutch players take us to the break when the UK Open winner Danny Noppert takes on Jermaine Wattimena.
The action resumes with the man the home crowd will be looking forward to seeing when their star Mensur Suljovic takes on Jeffrey de Zwaan in a good looking match. Stephen Bunting is a big name to be on show on a Friday in an event like this. He meets Karel Sedlacek before Brett Claydon takes on Rainer Sturm in the penultimate match of the evening. The final match of the first day of the tournament sees Darius Labanauskas goes up against Rowby-John Rodriguez.
I’ll start the weekend with the one bet which sees the recent WDF world finalist Thibault Tricole going up against Zoran Lerchbacher. I like the French player here. Lerchbacher has been around on the PDC circuit for a while now but hasn’t really done a huge amount in his career. This isn’t one of his best times though because he comes in here having lost his last six matches and confidence is surely going to be low as a result of that.
Tricole has been operating at a lower level to Lerchbacher but he has been doing it successfully and in Andy Baetens and Cameron Menzies he beat a couple of decent talents on the stage at Lakeside and didn’t do a great deal wrong in defeat in that final. He carries confidence forward with him though and also stage presence and both those things are very important. If he can be solid enough on his doubles then I think he has the beating of a one-paced Austrian opponent here.
Back T.Tricole to beat Z.Lerchbacher for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
Back him here: