World Series of Darts Finals – Preview
This weekend we are treated to some more darting action on our TV screens with the Unibet World Series of Darts Finals broadcast live on ITV4 from the Braehead Arena in Glasgow.
This tournament isn’t an event that counts towards ranking points on the main PDC Order of Merit ranking system; it is classed as the finale of the five World Series events that were played in Dubai, Japan, Australia and New Zealand throughout the year.
The top eight players from those five events based on a ranking system are seeded and qualify automatically for the second round; they await the winners of the eight first round matches which comprise of a mixture of invited players and four players who came through a qualifying tournament.
Here is the tournament draw.
Phil Taylor (1) vs Kyle Anderson/Dave Chisnall
Stephen Bunting (8) vs Simon Whitlock/Rowby-John Rodriguez
James Wade (5) vs Benito van de Pas/Jamie Lewis
Peter Wright (4) vs Max Hopp/Dimitri Van den Bergh
Adrian Lewis (2) vs Keegan Brown/Ian White
Gary Anderson (7) vs Terry Jenkins/Chris Dobey
Raymond van Barneveld (6) v Michael Smith/Mark Webster
Michael van Gerwen (3) v Devon Petersen/Robert Thornton
Saturday 21st November
First Round (Best of 11 legs)
Second Round (Best of 11 legs)
Sunday November 22
Quarter-Finals (Best of 19 legs)
Semi-Finals (Best of 21 legs)
Final (Best of 21 legs)
I have written a brief preview on each of the 24 players involved in the tournament (listed with the best odds available for them to win the tournament)
Michael van Gerwen (7-4 fav)
MVG has been dominant in the PDC TV major tournaments this year, winning The Masters, UK Open, World Matchplay, European Championships and Grand Slam. Not to mention reaching the final of the Premier League and the World Grand Prix. He rightly starts as tournament favourite and will be the man to beat, it is worth noting though of the 5 World Series events played this year, he only won one and failed to reach the final of the other four.
Phil Taylor (7-2)
Taylor again proved at the Grand Slam last week that he is still very much a force and not likely to fade in the immediate future, though he hasn’t won a PDC TV major tournament since the 2014 Matchplay. In the 5 World Series events played throughout the year Taylor won three, lost in the final of one other and was only denied another final appearance on a last leg decider to Adrian Lewis in the final event in Auckland. Taylor is always very hungry to win new tournaments so his motivation is likely to be very high this weekend.
Gary Anderson (6/1)
World Champion Gary Anderson should enjoy plenty of support from the crowd with the event being played in his native Scotland. His last TV tournament win came in the Premier League back in May. He has shown some excellent form in TV tournaments recently, notably in reaching the final of the European Championships, he didn’t play badly at the Grand Slam but exited the tournament after some inspired finishing by Mark Webster. In the 5 World Series events this season he didn’t reach a final.
James Wade (16/1)
Wade’s last TV tournament win came in November last year at The Masters (which was also played in Scotland), prior to that he last won a TV tournament in June 2011 at the UK Open. This season he reached the final of the World Matchplay and also the final of the Perth Masters defeating MVG in the semi-final. He remains a threat in any tournament he enters.
Adrian Lewis (18/1)
Lewis had a decent run in the last two TV tournaments reaching the semi-final at the European Championship and the quarter-final at the Grand Slam, but a player of his calibre would expect to progress further in these events. He won the World Series event played in Auckland back in August, beating Anderson, Taylor and van Barneveld in consecutive games. He does have a tough draw here though with a possible route to the final consisting of (Ian White, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen).
Peter Wright (20/1)
Wright is another player who will try to draw upon home support from the Scottish crowd and you can guarantee he will use his outfit and hairstyle as part of this. He has yet to win a TV tournament but has been knocking on the door with some final appearances and runs to the later stages frequently. He does have wins over van Gerwen and Taylor on the TV stage this year and can’t be discounted easily.
Dave Chisnall (25/1)
Chisnall has the calibre to go deep into the tournament; in the past he has reached the final of big events such as the BDO World Championship, World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts. He has yet to get over the final hurdle in a TV tournament so far though. He would face a tough second round match against Phil Taylor should he win his first round match.
Raymond van Barneveld (33/1)
Barney’s last TV tournament success came in the Premier League in 2014. He comes into the tournament on the back of a very good run last week at the Grand Slam when he reached the semi-final. His most recent appearances in the final of TV tournaments came this year at The Masters and at the Auckland Masters. He is capable of beating any player in the tournament and has wins against van Gerwen, Anderson and Taylor on the TV stage during 2015.
Michael Smith (40/1)
Smith will enter the tournament in very good confidence having reached a milestone first TV semi-final last week at the Grand Slam. That will have taken a lot of pressure off him and he may fancy his chances of a similar run here. He does have a tough opening round match against Mark Webster though with RVB awaiting the winner.
Ian White (50/1)
Despite White’s undoubted ability and potential to give a very tough match to anyone, he has yet to get past the quarter-final stage of a PDC TV tournament and underperformed in failing to get out of his group at last week’s Grand Slam. Should White get past Keegan Brown in his opening match he would have to face Adrian Lewis and then possibly Anderson followed by MVG to reach the final.
Robert Thornton (50/1)
A player who has won a PDC TV major this season at the World Grand Prix, Thornton has the potential to be a threat in front of a home Scottish crowd. He has been suffering with a foot problem though and would face MVG should he win his first round match (he did of course defeat van Gerwen to win the Grand Prix).
Stephen Bunting (50/1)
Former BDO World Champion Bunting hasn’t really hit the heights on the TV screens in 2015 as he did in 2014; he also failed to get past the quarter-finals in any of the 5 World Series events played throughout this year. A confident Bunting on the top of his game would have a chance of progressing to the later stages here, and a positive for Bunting is that he has shown signs of belief returning to his game.
Mark Webster (100/1)
Webster has enjoyed runs to the semi-finals at the World Grand Prix and quarter-finals at the Grand Slam last week, which are his best back to back performances in TV tournaments since 2011. He has been handed a massively tough draw at this tournament with an opener against Michael Smith and the winner facing Barney, further along the line await possible matches with Anderson and van Gerwen.
Simon Whitlock (100/1)
Going back 18 months and Whitlock may have been in the top 6 in the betting for this tournament, but he has endured a barren time since the summer of 2014. He has shown signs of some confidence returning to his game but not enough to suggest he can make a run to the later stages here.
Keegan Brown (125/1)
Brown is gaining experience all the time on the TV stage and has beaten both Lewis and van Barneveld up there previously. His opening match sees him against Ian White which is a very tough draw, especially with the winner facing Adrian Lewis. A success for Brown in this tournament would be winning his first round match.
Benito Van De Pas (150/1)
Benito van de Pas has been a big mover since he joined the tour at the start of 2014, moving into the top 32 and reaching a couple of tour finals this year. Although he has been beaten in each of his last 3 matches in PDC TV tournaments it is worth noting that his opponents were, Michael van Gerwen, Kim Huybrechts and Adrian Lewis.
Terry Jenkins (150/1)
Jenkins reached two TV finals in 2014 but his TV form in 2015 has not matched those heights. He has beaten van Gerwen, Taylor, Anderson, Wade and Thornton over the last 2 years on TV but most of those wins came in 2014. Can we see another surge to the later stages of a TV tournament by the Raging Bull? He would have to defeat Gary Anderson in the Last 16 to have a chance of doing so.
Devon Petersen (250/1)
He has the character for the big TV stage, is likely to win the fans over, and has experience of playing the likes of van Gerwen, Taylor and Anderson on TV, but his chances of progressing in this tournament look steep with Thornton waiting in his first match and the winner facing MVG.
Max Hopp (250/1)
Hopp has shown some good form on the tour this season, and has potential, but at 19 years of age he is still very much developing as a dart player. He does have a favourable draw in the first round against Dimitri van den Bergh; the winner faces Peter Wright though.
Rowby-John Rodriguez (250/1)
Rodriguez is another player who has been progressing well on the tour and competing well against higher ranked players. He has a way to go to reach his potential though. He may fancy his chances of defeating Whitlock in his opening match, Rodriguez has a 2-0 lead in head to head wins over the Australian. Perhaps significantly both of these wins came only fairly recently (they came a week apart both in September, 6-1 and 6-3 were the scores), they were also played in European Tour events, so in a stage environment.
Kyle Anderson (300/1)
Anderson didn’t play much on the PDC pro tour following the August break, having stayed down in Australia. On his return he only played in the final two Players Championship events and the Grand Slam qualifier, winning 1 match overall in those 3 events. He is no stranger to playing on the TV stage having competed in the World Championships, UK Open, World Matchplay, as well as at the Sydney and Perth Masters previously. He has wins against Bunting, Whitlock and van Barneveld on the TV stage. The draw doesn’t favour him here with Chisnall up first and the winner to play Taylor.
Jamie Lewis (400/1)
Lewis has made it into the top 32 in the ranking and is improving all the time on and off the TV stage; notably he reached the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in October. His match against van de Pas in the first round has the makings of being a good hard fought encounter between two players now both in the top 32.
Chris Dobey (500/1)
Dobey came through the qualifiers to earn his spot in this event. On his way through he defeated Kim Huybrechts 6-5 in the final match to qualify. This has been his first year on the PDC tour, the furthest he has gone in a tournament is the last 16 stage on one occasion. He does have wins against Ian White, van Barneveld and as mentioned Huybrechts. The experience on the TV and just qualifying are the main achievements for Dobey.
Dimitri van den Bergh (500/1)
Dimitri van den Bergh also came through the qualifiers to earn his place. He impressively recorded back to back wins against van der Voort and King in qualifying. Still only 21 he also plays on the Development Tour where he has won a couple of tournaments this year. He has beaten his first round opponent Max Hopp the only two times they have met previously.