PDC European Championship 2015 – Day Two Preview (Part 2)

Here is my stat preview for the Saturday evening session at the European Championships. Let’s hope we have a game that hits the standard shown by Bunting and Chisnall this afternoon.

Wright vs Huybrechts

Peter Wright
• Wright came through his first round match comfortably in the end against Alan Norris who didn’t really show his best darts. Wright scored well in the game with 10x 140’s and 4x 180’s but his finishing wasn’t as clinical as it usually can be. He did hit 2x 11 dart winning legs in the first round and he is a major contender in this tournament.
• He has been to the quarter-finals at the European Championships twice before and actually defeated Kim Huybrechts 10-5 at this stage of the tournament last year winning 7 out of the last 8 legs. There was only a total of 4 180’s in that match, both players hit 2 each.
• Wright leads Huybrechts 11-7 in their head to head meetings and significantly has won the last 3 times they have played in PDC major ranking tournaments on TV. Winning at the World Matchplay earlier this year and also in 2013, as well as last year’s European Championship.

Kim Huybrechts
• Huybrechts posted the highest average of the opening round with his 100.86 against Mervyn King, also hitting 6 from 9 on his doubles it was a polished performance from the home favourite.
• He is looking to get past this stage of the tournament for the first time since 2012 and also aiming to get into his first PDC major ranking TV tournament since December 2012.
• Huybrechts ended a 4 match losing run against Wright when he defeated him in the final of the European Darts Grand Prix earlier this month. The result in that final was 6-5, and the previous time Huybrechts also defeated Wright was in a last leg decider.

Taylor vs Smith

Phil Taylor
• Taylor recovered well from losing the opening leg on his own throw in the first round against a player who had beaten him in the previous TV major, although he did have a big let off with van der Voort missing numerous doubles to go 2-0 ahead, he punished his opponent and his scoring was impressive. Taylor averaged 120 with his first 9 darts; this was the highest of anyone in the first round.
• He has been knocked out at this stage of the tournament in the last 2 years, against Ronny Huybrechts in 2013 and Bunting last year. The match against Bunting was a very high standard with Taylor averaging over 102 and checking out over 56% on the doubles.
• Since losing to Smith at the World Championship in December 2013 he has had two convincing wins against him on the TV stage, winning 13-6 at the Matchplay and 16-3 at the Grand Slam (both in 2014).

Michael Smith
• Smith impressed on his doubles in the opening round, he hit 6 from 9 attempts, and was also averaging in the late 90’s/early 100’s for much of that win against Price.
• Having exited in the first round at this tournament on his debut last year he is having his best showing at the European Championship. He is of course still looking for his first appearance in a PDC TV ranking major tournament.
• Smith did win the last time they played one another; this was 6-5 at a pro tour event in May. He does have experience of beating Taylor on the big TV stage in the World Championships but as mentioned above has been heavily beaten on TV by Taylor twice since then.

van Gerwen vs Reyes

Michael van Gerwen
• He was of only 2 players from the first round who lost the opening 2 legs and went onto win the match. MVG brushed off being broken in the first leg and his opponent also checking out 156 in the second. Whilst not in top gear he averaged just over 100.
• Michael van Gerwen is defending his European Championship title here this week; on his way to victory last year he was given arguably his toughest game in the Last 16 when he scraped past Brendan Dolan by a score of 10-8.
• His record in the Last 16 of TV ranking events is as you would expect formidable. He has won 15 of his most recent 16 matches played at the Last 16 stage in PDC TV ranking events.

Cristo Reyes
• Reyes opened the tournament in impressive fashion in his win over Max Hopp with an average of just over 100 and a checkout % of over 54%.
• This is only his second PDC TV ranking tournament; he reached the Last 16 at the World Championship and now the Last 16 here. Just a reminder that at the World’s he defeated Newton and Painter before losing to eventual champion Anderson, Reyes average at the end of that match was 98.5 and he was 58% on the doubles.
• This will be the third time this year that Reyes has played MVG and they are tied with one win each. Reyes claimed his win 6-3 in April, whilst MVG won 6-1 in May. Both were in pro tour events.

Wade vs Klaasen

James Wade
• Wade had the lowest average of the winning players from round one and was one of only two players who didn’t win a leg of 15 darts or less during the first round. His finishing was good at 60% though.
• The last time Wade was in the Last 16 of this tournament was in 2013 when he was heavily beaten 10-2 by Jamie Caven, it was a strong performance from Caven that day, averaging just under a 100.
• Wade has a very big lead in the head to head meetings with Klaasen; he has won 19 and lost just 3. Most recently they met twice earlier this month in consecutive weeks with Wade winning both by a score of 6-4. He did lost their last match on TV though which was 6-4 at the Player Championship finals last year.

Jelle Klaasen
• Klaasen played some good darts in his opening round win against Barney, averaging just under 98 with 46% on the doubles he also hit 4 180s and looked confident up on the stage on the back of a very good few months of form.
• He has reached the quarter-finals of this tournament in each of the last 2 years and has also reached a semi-final in the past (2009). He actually reached the semi-final of this event at the same time Wade had his best tournament run also to the semi-final. Klaasen lost to Taylor and Wade to Beaton in those semi-finals in 2009.
• Although Klaasen has a heavy losing head to head record against Wade he did produce one of his best recent TV performances against Wade at the Players Championship Finals last year. In their first round match Klassen won 6-4 averaging over 108 and hit 6 out of 8 on the doubles. Wade himself averaged over 102 in that match and hit 5 180s.

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