PDC European Championship 2015 – Day Two Preview (Part 1)

We are down to the Last 16 at the European Championships today with two sessions of four matches. Most of the big names avoided an early exit yesterday, though World Grand Prix Champion Robert Thornton was a notable casualty.

I have split my previews for the afternoon session and the evening session today so here is part one and I will post the preview for the evening session a little later today.

Henderson vs Rodriguez

John Henderson
• Henderson was responsible for beating the highest ranked player who exited in the first round, winning 6-4 against recent World Grand Prix Champion Robert Thornton. Henderson hit 4 180’s, checked out 3 finishes of over 100 and impressively won the last 2 legs of the match with 12 dart finishes (including checkouts of 124 and 111).
• He is looking to get past the last 16 stage of a PDC major TV ranking tournament for only the second time, the last time was at the World Grand Prix in 2011.
• Henderson won their own previous meeting and it was a convincing win, the score being 6-0 at a Players Championship event in April of this year.

Rowby-John Rodriguez
• Rodriguez had the lowest winning average of the first round with 84.15 in his win over Kist. His average was consistently in the mid 80’s during the whole game. On the plus side he never lost a leg in which he had a shot at a double and he saw off a strong comeback from Kist to earn his place in the Last 16.
• This is his first time in the Last 16 of a PDC major ranking tournament, though he only has been on the tour 2 years. He has played at the World Cup of Darts and in the Grand Slam so of course does have game time on the big TV stage.

Bunting vs Chisnall

Stephen Bunting
• Bunting came through a very tough opening round match 6-5 against Ian White. Bunting’s finishing was probably his strength in that game; he was 60% on the doubles and checked out with his first dart to win in the deciding leg.
• Last year at this stage of the tournament Bunting had one of his best wins (if not the best) since he joined the PDC when he beat Phil Taylor 10-9 in a match where Bunting hit 10 180’s. This is his 10th PDC major ranking tournament since he joined the PDC at the start of last year and he has been to the Last 16 stage in 7 of them.
• Bunting has played Chisnall 7 times since he moved to the PDC, winning 5 and losing 2. Their last 3 encounters have all been on the TV stage, Bunting winning at the UK Open in March and then in the Premier League, Chisnall won their most recent meeting in the Premier League in May.

Dave Chisnall
• Chisnall was one of only two players to lose their first 2 legs in the first round and win the match (the other was MVG), he should have really been 3-0 behind but for missed doubles from Suljovic. Those misses proved pivotal as Chisnall really raised his level after winning his first leg, reeling 5 straight legs to lead 5-2. Suljovic came back strongly to force a deciding leg but Chisnall held his nerve well to win 6-5.
• No player on the tour has won more last leg deciders than Chisnall this season who took his record to 24-5. He actually won his match at this stage of last year’s tournament on a deciding leg too, when he beat Ian White 10-9. In that match against White he was 9-7 down and White had the throw in 2 of the final 3 legs.
• No player scored more 180’s in the first round than Chisnall’s 6, which probably isn’t a surprise as he is up there with the heaviest 180 hitters in the game.

Lewis vs Pipe

Adrian Lewis
• Lewis came through a thrilling match against the dangerous van de Pas in the opening round; Lewis led 5-3 only for van de Pas to level the match. With Lewis just getting over the line in the deciding leg. Although he averaged 94 in the end Lewis was averaging over 102 after the first 8 legs. His highest checkout in the first round was just 40.
• As mentioned in yesterday’s preview, every time Lewis has been past the 1st round at the Euro Championship he has reached the final. He has only been past the last 16 stage of a PDC major ranking event 1 time from his last 7 tournaments played (that was when he got to the final of the Players Championships last December).
• Although Lewis trailed Pipe 9-8 on their head to head record he has won the last 2 times they have played (both this year), though perhaps significantly Pipe won their only previous encounter on the TV stage when he beat Lewis in the Last 16 at the 2013 World Grand Prix.

Justin Pipe
• Pipe has now won his first round game in his last 2 PDC major ranking tournaments which will give him confidence after he went on a run of losing in the first round. In his opening round match he did show some signs of belief. Amongst his stats were 4x 180s, 50% on his doubles and 2 checkouts of over 100.
• He hasn’t been past this stage at the European Championship in his 4 previous appearances at the event. The only time he was in the Last 16 was in 2013 when he lost 10-6 to Jelle Klaasen.
• He does have experience of beating Lewis on the TV stage as mentioned above; he defeated Lewis 3-0 at the 2013 World Grand Prix.

Anderson vs Whitlock

Gary Anderson
• With the win against Dolan he made it 8 match wins in a row coming after his pro tour event last weekend. His last 5 wins have been against Lewis, Bunting, Chisnall, Wade and Dolan.
• Anderson is through to this stage of the Euro Championship for the third time in his 5 appearances at the tournament. The only time he has been past the Last 16 was in his debut year of 2009 when he lost in the quarter-finals.
• Anderson and Whitlock have met 31 times previously with Anderson leading 17-14. They haven’t met since 2014 though.

Simon Whitlock
• Whitlock has now won his last 3 first round matches in major ranking tournaments and there are signs the belief is returning. He showed flashes of impressive darts in his opening round win against Caris with two 12 dart legs and a 13 dart leg. The challenge now is to win 2 games in a row in ranking events the TV stage, something he hasn’t managed since the World Matchplay in July 2014.
• Although the venue might have changed the tournament has been a favourite for Whitlock having won it in 2012, gone all the way to the final a year later, and reached the semi-finals on another occasion too.
• He might have a 17-14 losing record against Anderson he did win their last encounter 6-5, and has wins against Anderson at the World Championship and the Players Championship finals.

Keep an eye out for my preview for the evening session and don’t forget to follow me on twitter for more stats.

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