2016 European Championship – Final Day Preview

The 2016 European Championship reaches its conclusion today as the final 8 players fight it out for the title.

The four quarter-finals take place in the afternoon, with the evening session comprising of the semi-finals and final.

There is plenty of quality left in the tournament with defending champion Michael van Gerwen remaining firm favourite to win a 3rd European Championship title in a row but Phil Taylor, James Wade, Peter Wright, Mensur Suljovic, Jelle Klaasen, Kyle Anderson and James Wilson will all be confident in their own chances.

Here is the tournament draw at the quarter-final stage.

Michael van Gerwen (1) vs Jelle Klaasen (8)

James Wilson vs James Wade (4)

Mensur Suljovic (2) vs Phil Taylor

Kyle Anderson vs Peter Wright (3)

 

And here are my previews for the four quarter-finals.

Sunday October 30 (1.45pm-6pm local time, 12.45pm-5pm UK time)

wilson-v-wade

James Wilson

  • Wilson won 10-9 against Mervyn King in round two, there was never much between the players all through the game, after four early breaks of throw the final 11 legs of the match all went with throw, Wilson didn’t create any good chances to break King but was very solid on his own throw.
  • He had an excellent run of 180 hitting in his match against King, all 6 of his 180’s came within an 8 leg spell in the middle of the match.
  • In round two his match average and checkout % were both lower than his round one totals.
  • Wilson is through to his first PDC TV quarter-final; he has played in 6 ranking quarter-finals in 2016 and has won 4 of them.

James Wade

  • Wade had a comfortable 10-3 win over Max Hopp in round two meaning he has only dropped a total of 3 legs in winning his two matches so far. Wade took the initiative against Hopp with a break of throw in 12 darts in the 2nd leg of the match and although Hopp kept in touch over the next few legs a run of 5 legs in a row from 5-3 pulled Wade to victory.
  • His finishing was very efficient against Hopp, hitting 50% of his attempts, this on the back of hitting 75% against Anderson in round one means Wade has a tournament double success percentage of over 57%.
  • Wade’s scoring stepped up a notch from round one to round two with his first nine dart average rising from 99 to 109 mainly due to some very consistent 140 hitting.
  • This is Wade’s first time in the quarter-finals of this tournament since 2011 when he lost to van Barneveld.
  • It’s his first TV ranking quarter-final appearance since reaching the quarters at the last World Championships and it’s only his 3rd TV ranking quarter-final since October 2014.

Head to Head (Wade leads 2-1)

They have met twice during 2016 with each player winning once; it was Wade who took the honours in their last encounter when he won 6-3 at a Players Championship tournament in May. This is their first meeting on the TV stage.

Verdict

James Wade has cruised into the last 8 with two easy wins and should be feeling a lot fresher than Wilson who was pushed very hard against King yesterday, I think Wade can take his game up a level from what he has had to do so far. There isn’t too much to separate the players on their tournament average but Wade’s finishing has been more effective and this could be where the match is settled, Wade’s knack of taking out combination finishes at the key moments always makes him a danger. I expect Wilson to push Wade but will just come up short with Wade coming through 10-7.

 

van-gerwen-v-klaasen

Michael van Gerwen

  • Van Gerwen made very light work of Gerwyn Price in round two playing some high calibre darts in a 10-2 win. MvG took control of the match after losing the opening leg when he won 5 legs in a row to take a commanding lead. After 5 legs van Gerwen was averaging 120 and although his average dipped under 106 at the end of the match he was still averaging 113 two legs prior to the match ending when Price himself was averaging 105.
  • His 180 scoring against Price hit remarkable levels when he scored a total of 9 180’s in a 7 leg spell. Overall during the tournament so far he is averaging a 180 every 1.6 legs.
  • His double success percentage in round two was much better than in round one, he hit over 43% of his doubles against Price, that total would have been more impressive had he not taken a total of 11 darts at double to win the final 2 legs of the match.
  • Van Gerwen has won his quarter-final match at this tournament in each of the last 3 years. In 2014 and 2015 he defeated Dave Chisnall and back in 2013 he beat Jelle Klaasen at this stage of the tournament.
  • Overall van Gerwen has won his last 16 TV ranking quarter-finals; the last time he lost at this stage of a TV ranking tournament was in October 2013 at the World Grand Prix.

Jelle Klaasen

  • Klaasen swept aside Stephen Bunting in round two with a convincing 10-4 win. He came flying out of the blocks winning the opening 3 legs but then had a spell of trouble on his doubles which gave Bunting a foothold in the game at 5-4, Klaasen then found his range again and won 5 legs in a row to seal victory (Klaasen averaged 115 over the final 5 legs).
  • Against Bunting for the second match in row at the tournament Klaasen scored a 180 in each of the opening 4 legs having done the same against West in round one.
  • Klaasen’s first 9 dart average of 121 against Bunting was the highest of any player in round two.
  • This is the 4th year in a row that Klaasen has reached the quarter-finals at his tournament and the 5th time overall. He has exited the tournament at his stage in each of the last 3 years, losing to van Gerwen, King and Gary Anderson.

Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 13-7)

Michael van Gerwen has won each of their last 7 meetings and going a little further back has won 10 of their last 11 stretching back to 2013. Klaasen’s only win against van Gerwen since 2012 was a 6-5 in a Euro Tour event in 2014. They have met 4 times in 2016 and their last 3 meetings were in Euro Tour quarter-finals.

Verdict

If you are going to watch just one quarter-final today I would advise you to make it this one. Recent meetings have seen both players produce an exceptional standard of darts and the way they both played yesterday suggests something special might be in store. MvG is so motivated and determined to defeat Klaasen he steps up his intensity and I expect this to be the case again. This is going to be fast and frantic and should be littered with 180’s. As good as Klaasen has been playing I just think van Gerwen will step it up a level, I’m going for a 10-8 win for MvG.

 

suljovic-v-taylor

Mensur Suljovic

  • Suljovic edged past Ian White in a last leg decider in round two having led 8-3 at one stage and looking set for an easy win. Suljovic showed his bottle in seeing out the match but he did look like faltering a little when White came back at him strongly.
  • Against White he averaged over 100 for the second game in a row. His overall tournament average is over 101 and his tournament double success percentage is over 51%.
  • This is his first time in the quarter-finals of this tournament but he is no stranger to PDC TV quarter-finals having reached 5 previously. He has won his last 2 TV quarter-finals, those wins being at the 2015 World Grand Prix and 2015 Players Championship Finals.
  • Suljovic has also won each of his last 5 ranking quarter-final matches, all of those have been since September 2016.

Phil Taylor

  • Taylor had a comfortable 10-3 win over Joe Cullen in round two, although he never hit the heights of his performance against Norris in round one it was still a very good display especially on his doubles where he hit 10 of his 15 attempts.
  • His tournament average of 106.63 is the highest of any player in the tournament and he has hit 59% of his double attempts.
  • Taylor is a four time winner of the European Championship but has failed to get past the quarter-finals since he last won the tournament in 2011.
  • His last two defeats at this tournament have both been on last leg deciders (Bunting in 2014, Adrian Lewis in 2015).

Head to Head (Taylor leads 4-0)

Taylor has a 100% record against Suljovic, prior to meeting at the World Cup of Darts in June they hadn’t played each other since 2009. They met most recently at the World Matchplay earlier this year when Taylor won 11-5 in the second round

Verdict

Both players have averaged over 100 in their two matches to reach this stage of the tournament and we should be set for another high quality match. Taylor has looked in excellent shape this weekend and looks determined to win this tournament and the way he has played so far he will take some stopping. Suljovic has the potential to push Taylor hard but I don’t think he will overcome Taylor here; I’m going for Taylor to win 10-6.

 

anderson-v-wright

Kyle Anderson

  • Anderson had a convincing 10-4 win over James Richardson in round two, he took control from the start and never looked troubled averaging in the mid to late 90’s all through the game, against an opponent who was averaging in the mid to low 80’s for much of the match.
  • The main highlight of Anderson’s game through the tournament so far has been his finishing, overall he has hit just over 59% of his double attempts, only Phil Taylor has matched this.
  • This is his 2nd TV ranking quarter-final having matched his performance at this year’s UK Open, he will be hoping for a better result this time as he lost 10-0 to Jelle Klaasen on that occasion.
  • Anderson did reach the semi-finals at the Sydney Masters in 2014 when he defeated van Barneveld and Whitlock before losing to Phil Taylor.

Peter Wright

  • Wright won 10-7 against Cristo Reyes in round two, Wright had his nose in front for most of the game though could never quite entirely shake off his opponent, but Wright always looked the likely winner and this proved to be the case.
  • Against Reyes he averaged over 100 all through the match; he hit 50% of his doubles as well as hitting 6x 180’s. His all-round level of performance was much improved from his round one win vs Pipe.
  • This is his 4th time in the quarter-finals of this tournament, last year he defeated John Henderson to reach the semi-finals having lost to Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld in his previous quarter-final appearances.

Head to Head (1 win each)

This is only their 3rd meeting which is quite a surprise and it’s the first time they have played each other since 2015. Kyle Anderson’s win came at the Dutch Darts Masters in June 2015 with Wright winning the next month in a Players Championship tournament.

Verdict

It’s an intriguing match to round off the afternoon; Kyle Anderson has the ability to really trouble Peter Wright especially if he continues his clinical finishing shown in the opening two rounds. Wright though has a lot of experience in the later stages of tournaments; he looked good against Reyes and has a lot more in his locker still. I think a good start for Anderson is essential if he is to have a chance but I’m expecting Wright to come out strongly and stamp his authority on the game early which may mean Anderson is left chasing for the rest of the game. I’m predicting a 10-7 win for Wright.

 

Due to the semi-finals and final being played only a matter of hours later I won’t be producing a full preview for those matches and will only be doing my usual pre-match stats on Twitter, I will have an attempt at predicting the semi-finals and final now though.

Semi-finals

van Gerwen 11-8 Wade

Taylor 11-7 Wright

Final

van Gerwen 8-11 Taylor

I feel the way Taylor has been hitting his doubles might just give him the edge against van Gerwen in the final.

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