Wayne Mardle picks out six players to watch on the PDC Tour
Last Updated: 12/09/18 7:58pm
With less than four months to go before the World Championships, the second half of the darts season is upon us.
So we have turned to Wayne Mardle for a look ahead and asked him to pick out his six players to watch over the coming months...
I tried to pick players we don't or haven't seen all the time recently.
I made a list and I have my reasons why for each of them - it's in no particular order other than it will be interesting to see how things play out.
Kim is looking resurgent again and I think the aggression he showed at the Matchplay, and in some of the European Tours I have watched, is his old spark.
That look where he says 'If I play well I don't care whether you like me or not.'
He went through a phase where he was quiet and subdued because he knew the other way was annoying people. When he was winning he didn't care if he annoyed anyone.
He started losing and thought he didn't want to antagonise if he was going to lose as well - he seemed to be acting beaten but now the aggression looks like its back.
I have seen the best of him, when he mauled Van Gerwen in the Grand Slam, when he played well in the Premier League but was very unlucky.
I believe he is one of those from a few years ago who can get back up there.
Jeffrey de Zwaan
Quite simply, the way that he played at the Matchplay when he reached the semi-final - if that's it for the rest of the season then it would be a shame, what a waste that would be.
What I mean by that is not the rankings, the money or anything like that but as Studd would say - momentum to carry forward.
He played so well, not just what he was going for but the way he was hitting it. He was like an experienced youngster but that is not what he is.
He is still a newcomer and has not had it easy after losing his Tour card but he is going in the right direction, and I think he can build on his Matchplay and maybe become the next non-major winner to win a major, that's how well he played.
Van Gerwen always says 'I've had some bad times, I don't want to go back there.' That is what keeps MvG on his toes and losing his card may well have helped Jeffrey to learn, it could be something useful to have in your armoury.
I believe his best format is legs and there is more to come - he has got the game to win the majors and now believes he can contend.
He has won a World Series and he is more and more looking like a winner every time - I believe can still kick on and I think he can make his presence felt in nearly all of the events.
He had two darts to beat Rob Cross in the Worlds, he lost in the final of the Premier League - they are two of the triple crown.
I think it is now his time and if I am doing the same in a year's time I would be very surprised if he is not a major holder - I mean one of the big ones like the Grand Slam, the Worlds, the Matchplay - he got so close in the Premier League where he could go one further.
I said it before the Matchplay, he cannot keep playing as well as he does and then falter on the big stage, but he did it again in Blackpool where I tipped him for a run.
He was beaten by Mensur Suljovic and didn't play well at all.
Ian White is so good off the stage, he gets results and he wins Tour events but it's the way he plays with it too.
I don't think we have seen anything like his best on the stage because his best is so much better than what he has previously produced.
He is so much better that what he has produced in the bigger tournaments and I think he just needs to relax, he looks like he is stressed when he gets on the stage and he really shouldn't be.
Dimitri Van den Bergh
I am not sure if I think he is world class or not because some days he looks as smooth as anyone, as confident as anyone and as good as anyone.
He played Rob at the Worlds over a best-of-seven and he looked like the better player and outplayed the man who went on to be the champion.
In the World Series when he reached the final and lost to Mensur he looked like a million dollars in getting to the final and then like a kid when he got there, while in the World Cup his sheer brilliance more or less dragged Kim Huybrechts along.
I believe he can do it but at the moment he is not doing it for long enough - he needs to kick on sharpish and become less inconsistent.
Wayne on Dimitri Van den Bergh
Even if you get beat early you want to be letting people know you are a force to be reckoned with.
His stock is high after the Worlds, the World Cup and the World Series but it is time to kick on as his floor form has got to improve to give him the confidence for the main stage because he loves the stage.
When I watch the others and then watch Adrian Lewis, there are not many players on the planet better than him.
I see him as a winner somewhere along the line in the next six to 12 months. I cannot believe that he is not going to make his presence felt in a big event, running up to the Worlds.
I can't have it that is going to be it, that he is going to be someone who turns up, gets beat and every now and then has a good run.
Wayne Mardle on Jackpot
He might not make the Grand Slam but he is still so, so good and it took an in-form Jeffrey de Zwaan to stop him at the Matchplay. Even though he didn't have much rhythm he still produced brilliant darts
I didn't like the way he had gone in terms of the way he plays - he was trying not to lose whereas he always used to be someone who would go for it - maybe he needs to relax a little.
He has got a game that is as good as anyone's, whether that is Michael van Gerwen or Gary Anderson who have proved they are the ones - I know he can beat the rest, and that's no offence to the world champ Rob Cross.
So when he starts to feel that confidence and start to give it some again - I really don't think there is anyone out there to frighten him.
Notable PDC dates
|Sept 22-23||Champions League of Darts|
|Sept 30-Oct 6||World Grand Prix|
|Oct 25-28||European Championship|
|Nov 2-4||World Series Finals|
|Nov 10-18||Grand Slam of Darts|
|Nov 23-25||Players Championship Finals|
|Dec 13-Jan 1||World Championship|
Wayne Mardle was talking to Sky Sports' Paul Prenderville.
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