Darts Preview: World Series Finals

It’s that time of the year when televised darts tournaments come thick and fast. This weekend we’re off to the Braehead Arena in Glasgow for the 24 player World Series of Darts Finals.

Similar to last weekend’s European Championship in Belgium, this is the culmination of a global tour that this season has visited Dubai, China, the U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia and Germany.

There are 8 seeded players who automatically feature in the Last 16. These positions have been determined by results during the seven World Series events throughout the year.

They will face the winners from Friday night’s Preliminary Round, which consists of players who failed to make the top 8 cut, invited wildcards and those who emerged from a qualifying competition last month.

Only a few days ago Michael Van Gerwen got back to winning ways in Hasselt, claiming his first individual major championship since the Premier League Play-Offs in June.

Despite once again being the odds-on favourite, though, the World Number 1 is not the top seed here. That honour goes to Scotland’s Gary Anderson, who probably benefitted from Van Gerwen’s absence in the Oceania triple-header during the summer due to becoming a father for the first time.

The back-to-back former World Champion doesn’t boast a particularly spectacular record in his native land, although I believe he may finally be due success on home soil.

Whilst there are some potential outside contenders in the Preliminary Round, I think Anderson can get the better of the other seeds in his top half of the draw. Gerwyn Price (Seed 8) has had a quiet couple of months, whilst James Wade (Seed 5) continues to suffer and has recently slipped down to 12th in the World Rankings.

Raymond van Barneveld (Seed 4) defeated Anderson the last time the pair met on the TV; the popular Dutchman looks like he would be the other most likely to come through this section.

As mentioned, though, Prelim competitors Mensur Suljovic and even the young, exciting Australian Corey Cadby will hope to upset the odds. Champions League winner Suljovic would face Anderson on Saturday night if he progresses – a player he has upset on the big stage on multiple occasions.

The bottom half also has the potential to throw together some very intriguing ties.

MVG could face familiar foe Adrian Lewis first up and in the Quarter-Finals may meet Auckland Darts Master Kyle Anderson in what would be a re-run of their memorable Last 4 match from last weekend. During that encounter Anderson hit a 9-Dart Finish, but later squandered two match darts for victory.

Having said that, the ever increasing ‘X-Factor’ of the piece is tour debutant Rob Cross, who continues to defy belief with his outstanding transition from full time electrician to full time darts professional. Finalist at the recent Euros, he would play Kyle if he overcomes Jonny Clayton.

Peter Wright (Seed 3) and Daryl Gurney (Seed 6) have both been very high profile in 2017 which has seen both secure maiden major trophies. The pair have exchanged tungsten a few times over previous months and would clash once more in the Last 8 if they negotiate their opening assignments.

The Preliminary Round and Last 16 are fairly quick, being just the Best of 11 legs. Hence this is more likely where shock eliminations could happen. The Quarters are Best of 19, whilst the Semis and Final are the Best of 21.

For those of you wondering, Phil Taylor qualified for this tournament but elected not to enter. With his retirement pending, his last two top tier appearances will be at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Championship.

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