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Eden Jon 3rd Jul 2013 - 10:46

European Championship Darts Preview

WHITLOCK OUT TO RETAIN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN

SIMON WHITLOCK will begin the defence of his partypoker.net European Championship title in Germany on Thursday against Belgium's Kim Huybrechts, while Phil Taylor meets Vincent van der Voort as the £200,000 event kicks off in Muelheim.

Australian star Whitlock his maiden major at the European Championship last year, when he defeated Wes Newton to claim the £50,000 first prize at the RWE Sporthalle.

The world number five has drawn in-form Belgian Huybrechts as he begins his bid to retain the title on Thursday night in Germany, and admits that it would be his greatest achievement to continue his success in the event this weekend by keeping hold of the crown.

"It was the greatest moment of my career when I won the European Championship last year and it's given me the hunger to win more major titles," said Whitlock.

"Everyone sets out to win every tournament that they play in and we all know that you can't win everything, but the feeling I got by winning the European Championship is driving me on.

"It was a brilliant weekend and to win three games on the final day to take the title was a big ask but I managed to do that.

"To win this again would be another massive achievement because the field's incredibly strong. I've got Kim first and he's been sensational for the last 18 months and deserves to have broken into the world's top 16 now.

"If I get past him, there's players like James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor in my half of the draw, so even getting close to the final will be tough, but it will be a great event."

Whitlock has won three other ranking tournaments since September's European Championship success, but said: "The standard's getting better all the time and it's crazy now.

"I've been playing some of the best darts of my life in recent months and although I've won a few tournaments, my results probably don't reflect how well I feel I've played.

"During the Premier League I was really happy with my form but I came up against some players who produced superb performances, and then in the UK Open I was drawn against Wes Newton and he was fantastic.

"It's a sign of how high the standard is now, and it's up to me to keep working hard and improving."

Taylor opens his European Championship challenge against Holland's Vincent van der Voort, with the World Champion capping a fine June by following up his UK Open win with victory in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy last weekend.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Taylor, a four-time European Champion from 2008-2011. "I'm feeling great and my form's good, and to win in Gibraltar was a perfect warm-up for the European Championship."

World number four Wade will also be in action on Thursday night as he takes on Mark Webster, who was a late replacement in the event after Gary Anderson was ruled out on Wednesday through illness.

Raymond van Barneveld will return from a holiday in Las Vegas which has seen him skip the last two PDC ProTour weekends as he takes on Germany's Tomas Seyler in their opener.

Ronny Huybrechts, the elder of the Belgian brothers, kicks off the event against another European Championship debutant, Stuart Kellett, and Jamie Caven plays Dave Chisnall before Colin Lloyd meets Peter Wright, and Robert Thornton faces Brendan Dolan - a semi-finalist in last year's European Championship.

Bookies' favourite Michael van Gerwen plays Belgium's Kurt Van De Rijck in their opener on Thursday, while number three seed Adrian Lewis takes on leading Austrian Mensur Suljovic.

Newton, last September's runner-up, faces Jelle Klaasen and two heavyweight contests see Kevin Painter meet three-time World Champion John Part and number six seed Andy Hamilton face Terry Jenkins.

German teenager Max Hopp plays Paul Nicholson, Finland's Jani Haavisto faces Justin Pipe and Ronnie Baxter meets Mervyn King.

The second round will be played across two sessions on Saturday, with the quarter-finals being played on Sunday afternoon and the semi-finals and final taking place on Sunday evening.

Full coverage of the tournament will be available in the UK through www.LIVEPDC.TV, with ITV4 broadcasting live coverage from the majority of the tournament.

Coverage will also be live through RTL7 in the Netherlands, Sport1 in Germany, Fox Sports in Australia and Sky New Zealand.

European Championship

Schedule of Play

Thursday July 4
8pm-12pm Local Time (7pm-11pm UK Time)
First Round x8
Stuart Kellett v Ronny Huybrechts
Jamie Caven v Dave Chisnall
Colin Lloyd v Peter Wright
Robert Thornton v Brendan Dolan
Simon Whitlock v Kim Huybrechts
Phil Taylor v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld v Tomas Seyler
James Wade v Mark Webster

Friday July 5
8pm-12pm Local Time (7pm-11pm UK Time)
First Round x8
Jani Haavisto v Justin Pipe
Max Hopp v Paul Nicholson
Andy Hamilton v Terry Jenkins
Ronnie Baxter v Mervyn King
Wes Newton v Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Kurt Van De Rijck
Adrian Lewis v Mensur Suljovic
Kevin Painter v John Part

Saturday July 6
Afternoon Session
2pm-6pm Local Time (1pm-5pm UK Time)
Second Round x4
Newton/Klaasen v Haavisto/Pipe
Hamilton/Jenkins v Hopp/Nicholson
Whitlock/K Huybrechts v Lloyd/Wright
Wade/Webster v Caven/Chisnall
Evening Session
8pm-12am Local Time (7pm-11pm UK Time)

Second Round x4
Lewis/Suljovic v Painter/Part
van Barneveld/Seyler v Thornton/Dolan
Taylor/van der Voort v Kellett/R Huybrechts
van Gerwen/Van De Rijck v Baxter/King

Sunday July 7
Afternoon Session
2pm-6pm Local Time (1pm-5pm UK Time)
Quarter-Finals
As Per Draw Bracket
Evening Session
9pm-12am Local Time (8pm-11pm UK Time)

Semi-Finals
Final
** Please note that Semi-Finals will begin at 9pm due to TV scheduling. A charity game will be played on stage at 8pm.

Format
First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs
There is no tie-break.

First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket
Phil Taylor (1) v Vincent van der Voort
Stuart Kellett v Ronny Huybrechts
Raymond van Barneveld (8) v Tomas Seyler
Robert Thornton v Brendan Dolan
Simon Whitlock (5) v Kim Huybrechts
Colin Lloyd v Peter Wright
James Wade (4) v Mark Webster
Jamie Caven v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen (2) v Kurt Van De Rijck
Ronnie Baxter v Mervyn King
Wes Newton (7) v Jelle Klaasen
Jani Haavisto v Justin Pipe
Andy Hamilton (6) v Terry Jenkins
Max Hopp v Paul Nicholson
Adrian Lewis (3) v Mensur Suljovic
Kevin Painter v John Part

 

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