Players chasing Czech Open title and World Matchplay places
Last Updated: 28/06/19 11:14pm
As well as the first-ever Czech Open title, the final three World Matchplay places are up for grabs in Prague with the action getting underway on Friday.
Michael van Gerwen tops the seeds for the PDC's first-ever tournament in the Czech Republic but world no 2 Rob Cross is not in attendance.
Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, James Wade, Peter Wright and the in-form Ian White are among the seeded names that enter the action on Saturday but on Friday, it was all eyes on the remaining Matchplay places.
The top 16 seeds have already been secured but the other places are available via the one-year ProTour Order of Merit and heading into this weekend were held by Vincent van der Voort, James Wilson and Kyle Anderson.
However, all three failed to win a spot in Prague so 11 players had high hopes of a place in Blackpool as one of the sport's oldest and finest venues looms into view on the darting calendar.
Blackpool's iconic Winter Gardens will host the 26th World Matchplay kicking off on Saturday July 20 and running through to the final on July 28, when the Phil Taylor Trophy will be lifted.
World Matchplay on Sky Sports
Nine days of coverage from the legendary Winter Gardens gets underway on Saturday July 19 through to the final on Sunday July 28
As for the Czech Open title, world no 1 Van Gerwen tops the seeds and has been dominant on the European Tour this year, winning four of the eight titles so far, although all four came in the first five events of the year.
White has proved a tough man to beat - seeded second this weekend, he has reached four of the last five finals, winning two titles along the way, while Dave Chisnall claimed the Danish Open a fortnight ago, beating Chris Dobey in the final.
Gurney is the only other man to win a European crown this year and will be among the favourites for a run in Prague.
2019 PDC European Tour
|European Darts Open||Michael van Gerwen||8-6||Rob Cross|
|German Darts Championship||Daryl Gurney||8-6||Ricky Evans|
|German Darts Grand Prix||Michael van Gerwen||8-3||Simon Whitlock|
|German Darts Open||Michael van Gerwen||8-3||Ian White|
|Austrian Darts Open||Michael van Gerwen||8-7||Ian White|
|European Darts Grand Prix||Ian White||8-7||Peter Wright|
|Dutch Darts Masters||Ian White||8-7||Michael van Gerwen|
|Danish Darts Open||Dave Chisnall||8-3||Chris Dobey|
Friday night saw the World Matchplay race take further shape, with Anderson the first man to fall. His absence gave Keegan Brown the chance to move into the final spot, which he took, while a host of other names stay in the frame.
Brown's 6-0 win over Ondrej Plsek kept alive his dream of a return to the tournament for the first time since 2015.
As well as Brown, Ted Evetts, Jamie Hughes, Ron Meulenkamp, William O'Connor and Justin Pipe all kept alive their hopes of a place in Blackpool with first-round victories.
Ireland's World Cup finalist William O'Connor needs to reach the last eight to have a chance and he gave himself a great opportunity by beating Vaclav Shieferdecker to set-up a last 16 meeting with fourth seed Daryl Gurney.
Meulenkamp needs a semi-final place and started with a win over Jan Hlavacek to advance to a showdown with Steve Beaton.
Evetts, Hughes and Pipe all need to win the title and did the first part to stay in the hunt but Brendan Dolan and Steve West crashed out to end their hopes.
Rowby-John Rodriguez was another that needed the title to have any hope of a spot but those unlikely ambitions were ended by a defeat to Andrew Gilding and the story was a similar one for Robert Thornton, who lost to Stephen Bunting.
Czech Darts Open - Second Round Draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Keegan Brown
Darren Webster (16) v Stefan Bellmont
Mensur Suljovic (8) v John Henderson
Ricky Evans (9) v Ted Evetts
Peter Wright (5) v Stephen Bunting
Joe Cullen (12) v Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney (4) v William O'Connor
Jonny Clayton (13) v Jermaine Wattimena
Ian White (2) v Karel Sedlacek
Nathan Aspinall (15) v Andrew Gilding
Adrian Lewis (7) v Jamie Hughes
Steve Beaton (10) v Ron Meulenkamp
James Wade (6) v Mervyn King
Michael Smith (11) v Corey Cadby
Gerwyn Price (3) v Glen Durrant
Simon Whitlock (14) v Justin Pipe
You don't have to wait long until darts is back on Sky Sports, with every dart from every session in Blackpool and the World Matchplay. It starts on Saturday July 20 and the final is on Sunday July 28.