Preview: World Series of Darts Finals

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The 2023 Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals begins in Amsterdam on Friday, as AFAS Live plays host to the 24-player event in the Dutch capital.

The ninth staging of the World Series of Darts Finals will take place across four sessions from September 15-17, with reigning champion Gerwyn Price among the top stars in action.

The eight seeded players – based on World Series Order of Merit ranking following six international events this year – enter the tournament in Saturday’s second round, while Friday’s first round will see the invited players and Tour Card Holder Qualifiers locking horns on a bumper opening night.

Price clinched his second World Series Finals title with a deciding-leg victory against Dirk van Duijvenbode last year, and he will begin his title defence against Australian stalwart Simon Whitlock or Keegan Brown on Saturday night.

The Welshman arrives in Amsterdam fresh from claiming a hat-trick of ProTour titles during the last three weeks, and is aiming to continue that winning run this weekend.

“My game is in a good place. I’m feeling confident,” revealed Price, who has won more PDC ranking titles than any other player in 2023.

“My mind hasn’t been fully focused on darts for the last 12 months or so, but now my [newly-built] house is coming to a finish, I’m coming back into form and I think there’s a lot more to come.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend. Winning breeds confidence, so whatever tournament I’m in, I like to win, and hopefully I can build on the confidence I’ve gained from the ProTours.

“I think Simon and Keegan are playing at pretty similar standards at the moment, but I will just concentrate on my own game, and if I play as well as I can, I’m confident I will come through.”

Michael van Gerwen will headline the quartet of Dutch stars in action this weekend, and he opens his challenge against German number one Gabriel Clemens or Ireland’s former World Cup finalist William O’Connor.

Van Gerwen was a winner at the US Darts Masters and the inaugural Poland Darts Masters earlier this year, and is now setting his sights on lifting a fifth World Series Finals crown in Amsterdam.

“I’ve had a few weeks off now and I’ve spent some nice time with the family,” reflected Van Gerwen, who was absent from last month’s Oceanic World Series of Darts double-header for a holiday.

“Sometimes you have to recharge the batteries to give you a fresh energy for the rest of the season, and that is how I feel now.

“There are so many important tournaments coming up, so I need to make sure my game gets to where I want, but that takes a little bit of time and I know that.

“I would love to win this tournament again. There is always extra pressure on home soil because you want to deliver, but I need to make sure I start sharp on Saturday and don’t make any mistakes.

Friday’s opening night will see eight first round matches takes place, including the fascinating all-Dutch clash between Danny Noppert and last year’s runner-up Van Duijvenbode.

The pair represented Netherlands together in June’s World Cup of Darts, although they will now go head-to-head for the right to meet World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in the last 16.

“It’s really nice to play in front of your home crowd. The atmosphere is always great, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” insisted Noppert, a runner-up to Van Gerwen in 2019 at AFAS Live.

“I have been struggling a bit with my form, but I am working really hard. I’m a top ten player now, so you have to work hard, and that’s the way I like it!

“I will have to play really well because Dirk is such a good player. We are good friends, but tomorrow we are not friends on stage.

“He can hit 180s almost with his eyes closed! His scoring is very strong, but I am also a good finisher, so that should make it a great game.”

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld will also make his return to home soil this weekend with his first televised appearance in the Netherlands since returning to the sport in 2021.

The five-time World Champion will take on US Darts Masters runner-up Jeff Smith in round one, with the winner set to meet World Champion Michael Smith for a place in the quarter-finals.

Top seed Rob Cross has been pitted against 2021 champion Jonny Clayton or Germany’s Martin Schindler in his opener, with Clayton one of three former winners in the field.

Krzysztof Ratajski – who prevailed at last weekend’s German Darts Open – takes on Daniel Klose in the tournament’s curtain-raiser, with the winner advancing to a tie against eighth seed Luke Humphries.

Elsewhere, two-time finalist Peter Wright will face either Haupai Puha or Graham Usher in his opener, while Dimitri Van den Bergh will play Australian number one Damon Heta or Ricky Evans.

Following Saturday’s second round, the £350,000 tournament continues with the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon, before the semi-finals and final take place in a blockbuster evening session.

The tournament will be broadcast live on ITV3 & ITV4 in the UK, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding subscribers based in the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland).

UK coverage will be through ITV3 on Friday and ITV4 on Saturday and Sunday.

2023 Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals

Tournament Bracket

(1) Rob Cross v Jonny Clayton/Martin Schindler

(8) Luke Humphries v Daniel Klose/Krzysztof Ratajski

(4) Michael van Gerwen v Gabriel Clemens/William O’Connor

(5) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Damon Heta/Ricky Evans

(2) Gerwyn Price v Keegan Brown/Simon Whitlock

(7) Nathan Aspinall v Dirk van Duijvenbode/Danny Noppert

(3) Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld/Jeff Smith

(6) Peter Wright v Graham Usher/Haupai Puha

Schedule of Play

Friday September 15 (1900 local time)

8x First Round

Daniel Klose v Krzysztof Ratajski

Graham Usher v Haupai Puha

Gabriel Clemens v William O’Connor

Keegan Brown v Simon Whitlock

Jonny Clayton v Martin Schindler

Raymond van Barneveld v Jeff Smith

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Danny Noppert

Damon Heta v Ricky Evans

Saturday September 16 (1900 local time)

8x Second Round

Matches TBC

Sunday September 17

Afternoon Session (1300 local time)

Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 local time)

Semi-Finals

Final

Prize Fund

Winner – £75,000

Runner-Up – £35,000

Semi-Finalists – £25,000

Quarter-Finalists – £17,500

Second Round Losers – £10,000

First Round Losers – £5,000

Total – £350,000

Format

First Round – Best of 11 legs

Second Round – Best of 11 legs

Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs

Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs

Final – Best of 21 legs

——ENDS——

Images:Kelly Deckers/PDC

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