The third European Tour event of the season takes place over the Easter weekend with 48 of the leading players in the darts world heading over to Berlin for the German Darts Grand Prix, the latest in the events which will form the qualifying series for the European Championship.
Michael van Gerwen won the title the last time this tournament was held and he has started the European Tour season off well so he will be a tough nut to crack. There are plenty of players ready to crack it though.
2019 – Michael van Gerwen
2018 – Michael van Gerwen
2017 – Michael van Gerwen
We might not have had many European Tour events last year but the format for these tournaments remains the same as before, which means that the qualifiers meet each other over the course of the play on Saturday before the last 32 of the tournament is played over two sessions of action on Sunday, with the last 16 on Monday afternoon and the quarter finals on Monday night. They are all the best-of-11 legs with the semi-finals also on Monday evening. They are the best-of-13 and then the final in the same session is the best-of-15 legs. The draw has been pre-determined and is played in a straight knockout format.
Gerwyn Price is the top seed in the draw this weekend and he will be in the top half of it as a result of that. There are still doubts over his hand injury so the other seeded players will fancy their chances of going deep this weekend. They are Gabriel Clemens, Brendan Dolan, the very much in form Ryan Searle, the world champion and world number one Peter Wright, Damon Heta, the Premier League champion Jonny Clayton and another very dangerous runner in Dimitri Van den Bergh.
The qualifiers for this competition were held a while ago so it will be interesting to see who comes to Berlin in decent form. The pick of them is probably the UK Open semi-finalist Keane Barry but in terms of name it will be Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall that jump out off the page. Scott Waites had a good weekend at the Players Championship last week and he’ll hope to replicate that here while the home players Max Hopp, Lukas Wenig and Martin Schindler will look to thrill their own crowd. Alan Soutar and Ryan Meikle are also in this section.
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The second seed this week and therefore the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw is Jose de Sousa but I would imagine most of the attention will be around Michael van Gerwen, the defending champion who is back in good form. The other six seeds who will be looking to progress deep this weekend are Callan Rydz, Rob Cross, Michael Smith, Luke Humphries, Joe Cullen who will be buoyed by his outing in the Premier League on Thursday night and Dirk van Duijvenbode who won a title last week and will be looking to back that up here.
There are some decent enough names among the qualifiers in this half of the draw but nothing like the strength in the other half. The pick of the players who will enter in the field round are Kim Huybrechts and Vincent van der Voort. Jim Williams has won a tournament this season and he’ll be looking to go well in this half while the likes of Jeffrey de Zwaan, Keegan Brown and Chris Dobey will be looking to get their form back on track. John O’Shea and Madars Razma could be a couple of others to watch out for.
I’ll take a player from each side of the draw this weekend with Dirk van Duijvenbode the one I’ll chance in the bottom half of proceedings. He won the Saturday Players Championship event last weekend but he didn’t just win it, he won it in seriously impressive style with his averages for his seven matches reading 109.81, 104.02, 98.74, 104.71, 96.97, 98.79 and 98.04. Admittedly those matches are on the floor but that is sensational darts whoever you are. If he can have even the lower end of those averages with him here then he is going to take some stopping. You tend to find that when players show their best form on the floor the next step is that they’ll win an event like this before going on to contend for majors. It wasn’t so long about DvD was in the final of the World Grand Prix so he’s kind of done things the wrong way around. That run to the final of the WGP shows us he can perform on a stage and with his confidence clearly high he could be the one to beat here.
In the other half of the draw I’ll take my chances on Keane Barry who could see his draw open right up if he can come through on Saturday and then see off Gerwyn Price on Sunday. There isn’t a huge amount else in his quarter should that happen and with Barry another who has gone deep in a TV event this year we know he can perform on the stage. As you would imagine at this stage of his career consistency isn’t exactly his strong point but when he’s on it he is a match for anyone as we saw at the UK Open where he took care of James Wade in ruthless style. I’ve a feeling that with the amount of darts the big boys have been playing recently that this is a draw that will open up and see a ‘next level’ sort of player win. I’ll pay to see if that player is Barry.
Back D.van Duijvenbode to win German Darts Grand Prix (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)
Back K.Barry to win German Darts Grand Prix (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 71.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)
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