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Simon Gott 23rd Oct 2014 - 15:51

European Darts Championship Preview

 

ADRIAN LEWIS begins his defence of the 888.com European Championship title against Jelle Klaasen on Friday, as Michael van Gerwen bids for glory in a third successive weekend on the PDC circuit in the ITV4-televised event in Germany.

World number three Lewis defeated 2012 champion Simon Whitlock 11-6 as he won his first European Championship title at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim last July.

This year's three-day event kicks off on Friday when the 32 players compete in the first round in Germany, with Lewis kicking off his challenge against Holland's Jelle Klaasen, a former semi-finalist.

"We're both quick players and he's hit a bit of form recently, so I know it will be tough and I think it will be a good game," said Lewis.

"It's a short format, the first to six legs, so I've got to hit the ground running and I'll be going out to do that."

Lewis had allowed a two-set lead to slip as he went down 3-2 to Kevin Painter in the World Grand Prix earlier this month, but is in confident mood as he prepares to defend his title, saying: "I'm feeling good.

"I didn't have the rub of the green in the World Grand Prix but I've been playing consistently well in the floor tournaments recently and I want to push on and take that onto the stage now.

"We're in a run of six major tournaments in three months and I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks as we build up to the World Championship."

Lewis' record in the European Championship is second only to four-time champion Phil Taylor, with the youngster having lost out to his Stoke rival in the 2008 and 2011 finals before taking the title in Muelheim last year.

"I've got a pretty good record in the European Championship and I've reached three finals and won one, but I've also lost in the first round a couple of times too!" he added.

"I really enjoy the event, though, because the German fans are great and it's a fantastic venue to play in."

Taylor had been unbeaten in the first four years of the event from 2008-2011 as he picked up a quartet of titles, and opens his bid to win the £55,000 first prize for a fifth time against Steve Beaton on Friday night.

Taylor had taken a comfortable victory when the pair met in the World Grand Prix first round recently, but is expecting a different challenge as they meet in a repeat of the 2009 European Championship final.

"Steve didn't play as well as he can do in Dublin but that was the double-start format and sets, so in a straight best of 11 I'm expecting him to play a lot better on Friday," said Taylor.

"I've done well in the European Championship before but that means nothing this weekend - I've got to make sure I go up there and perform and I'm looking forward to it."

World Champion Michael van Gerwen, the 2/1 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors 888.com, is looking to continue his brilliant October form, having followed up his World Grand Prix triumph with victory in a Players Championship last weekend.

The Dutchman was a semi-finalist in last year's European Championship, and begins his challenge to go all the way this time around against Justin Pipe.

"This is a tournament I've never one so I am determined to make it another TV title," said van Gerwen. "I'm very happy with my form and this is the time of the year to really push on ahead of the World Championship.

"I'm number one in the world but I need to keep proving that by winning and that's what I want to do.

"I was so happy to win the World Grand Prix, especially as I didn't play my very best darts, but the important thing is to get the job done and I did that in Dublin.

"I have a different challenge as it is back to a more normal format and I play Justin Pipe in round one. He has a very different style to me and is a very good player so I will concentrate on that and we'll see what happens."

2012 champion Simon Whitlock will meet Premier League Darts champion Raymond van Barneveld in another tasty first round contest, as the world number five targets another successful event in Germany.

"I'm really looking forward to the European Championship and I always seem to do well in it," said the Australian. "It was the scene of my first PDC major title and that makes me incredibly proud and I put up a great defence last year but Adrian Lewis was in unstoppable form.

"I'm still looking to win that second TV title and this is a tournament I feel very comfortable in, but I've been handed a very tough first round tie against Raymond van Barneveld.

"I don't see that in a negative way though because if I win it my confidence will go through the roof, which will put me in a good place for the rest of the tournament.

"For some reason, the crowd are great to me in Germany so I've got a lot of things in my favour, and if I can get beat Barney then I think I've got a great chance of going all the way again."

In-form James Wade, the World Grand Prix runner-up who won a Players Championship last Saturday in Crawley, opens his bid for a first European Championship title as he plays Belgian ace Ronny Huybrechts on Friday night.

Scottish star Gary Anderson, who has won six ranking titles this year, meets Terry Jenkins, World Championship finalist Peter Wright opens up against Dutch debutant Benito van de Pas, and Andy Hamilton takes on Stephen Bunting, another player competing in his first European Championship.

2012 runner-up Wes Newton kicks off the tournament on Friday afternoon against Ian White, before Dutch ace Vincent van der Voort meets Norway's Robert Wagner, who won the Scandinavian Darts Corporation's Play-Off in August.

Huybrechts' younger brother Kim takes on another European Championship debutant, Dean Winstanley, while Holland's Christian Kist faces Mervyn King.

Austrian pair Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez face Jamie Caven and Robert Thornton respectively, with Germany's Jyhan Artut taking on Dave Chisnall and Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan meeting Michael Smith.

The £250,000 tournament, featuring an increased prize fund this year, will be televised live on ITV4 from the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany. A small number of tickets are still available via www.pdc-europe.tv.

European Championship
Schedule of Play
Friday October 24
Afternoon Session (1.45pm-6pm local time, 12.45pm-5pm UK)
First Round
Wes Newton v Ian White
Vincent van der Voort v Robert Wagner
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Robert Thornton
Jamie Caven v Mensur Suljovic
Brendan Dolan v Michael Smith
Dave Chisnall v Jyhan Artut
Dean Winstanley v Kim Huybrechts
Christian Kist v Mervyn King

Evening Session (8pm-12am local time, 7pm-11pm UK)
First Round
Peter Wright v Benito van de Pas
Andy Hamilton v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson v Terry Jenkins
James Wade v Ronny Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis v Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Justin Pipe
Phil Taylor v Steve Beaton
Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld

Saturday October 25
Afternoon Session (1.45pm-6pm local time, 12.45pm-5pm UK)
Second Round
Anderson/Jenkins v Rodriguez/Thornton
Chisnall/Artut v Newton/White
Lewis/Klaasen v Caven/Suljovic
Wright/van de Pas v Winstanley/K Huybrechts

Evening Session (8pm-12am local time, 7pm-11pm UK)
Second Round
Whitlock/van Barneveld v van der Voort/Wagner
Taylor/Beaton v Hamilton/Bunting
Van Gerwen/Pipe v Dolan/Smith
Wade/R Huybrechts v Kist/King

Sunday October 26
Afternoon Session (1.45pm-6pm local time, 12.45pm-5pm UK)
Quarter-Finals - Order TBC

Evening Session (7.45pm-12am local time, 6.45pm-11pm UK)
Semi-Finals - Order TBC
Final

First Round Draw & Tournament Draw Bracket
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Justin Pipe
Brendan Dolan v Michael Smith
Dave Chisnall (8) v Jyhan Artut
Wes Newton v Ian White
Simon Whitlock (5) v Raymond van Barneveld
Vincent van der Voort v Robert Wagner
Peter Wright (4) v Benito van de Pas
Dean Winstanley v Kim Huybrechts
Phil Taylor (2) v Steve Beaton
Andy Hamilton v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson (7) v Terry Jenkins
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Robert Thornton
James Wade (6) v Ronny Huybrechts
Christian Kist v Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen
Jamie Caven v Mensur Suljovic

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

Prize Fund
Winner - £55,000
Runner-Up - £25,000
Semi-Finalists - £15,000
Quarter-Finalists - £10,000
Second Round Losers - £6,500
First Round Losers - £3,000
Total - £250,000
Should a player achieve a nine-dart finish, a £5,000 bonus would be paid. This would be split on a pro-rata basis if more than one nine-darter is achieved.

 

 
 
 

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