Players Championship Finals preview and predictions: Will it be super six for Michael van Gerwen?

Another three days of darting action awaits as the 2020 Players Championship Finals commences at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Friday afternoon.

Michael van Gerwen will be vying to secure a super sixth crown at the tournament, however, the chasing pack will want to stop the world number one in his tracks.

Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price will be amongst those hot on the heels of Van Gerwen as they look to bounce back from an extremely disappointing Grand Slam of Darts campaign.

Ahead of the tournament, Ben Hudd previews each quarter of the draw and provides his predictions, after correctly selecting Jose de Sousa to reach the Grand Slam final.

QUARTER ONE

Fresh from lifting his maiden major title just days ago, Portuguese sensation De Sousa headlines the opening quarter alongside the likes of world champion Wright.

In arguably the most packed quarter of the draw, three of the world’s top ten feature, while three of the recent Grand Slam semi-finalists are also involved.

It was a fairytale ending to a magnificent story on Tuesday evening (Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

De Sousa was in scintillating form across the nine days in Coventry, consistently recording averages in excess of the 98 mark and firing home maximums at an alarming regularity, but another deep run so soon will take some doing.

Dimitri Van den Bergh and Simon Whitlock were both beaten semi-finalists at the Grand Slam and will be hoping to build on that this coming weekend, while Wright will want to bounce back from his woeful campaign.

Michael Smith could meet his former mentor Gary Anderson in the second round, though, the rather tall Croatian Boris Krcmar stands firmly in his way and has beaten him twice on the ProTour in recent months.

Daryl Gurney, the champion in Minehead two years ago, will be hoping to repeat that feat, but the Northern Irishman takes on the in-form Callan Rydz in a mouth-watering first round encounter.

Prediction: De Sousa beats Whitlock in the quarter-finals

QUARTER TWO

The second quarter could prove anyone’s for the taking, and usually when that’s the case, Krzysztof Ratajski steps up to the plate and delivers.

The Pole could lock horns with Chris Dobey in round two in a repeat of their thrilling UK Open battle earlier this year, while fourth seed Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall and Australian Damon Heta are also notable names.

Ratajski is due a televised run past the quarter-finals (Photo: Chris Sargeant)

Picking an eventual semi-finalist in this quarter is rather tough for anyone, especially due to esteemed talents Aspinall and Chisnall only showing glimpses of form in recent times and somewhat lacking consistency.

Danny Noppert came through a tough quarter, containing both Price and Wright, to reach the last four on debut two years ago. A slightly easier draw has been handed to the Dutchman this time around, but he will be after a similar outcome.

The likes of Mervyn King, Stephen Bunting and Ross Smith are also among those more than capable of mounting their charge, even though the latter has never won at this tournament in his three appearances.

Prediction: Ratajski beats Heta in the quarter-finals

QUARTER THREE

Obviously Price is the heavy favourite to come through the third quarter, but there are a number of players with the capability of overcoming the world number three, with Rob Cross, Ian White, Joe Cullen and Devon Petersen also involved.

It wasn’t an ideal Grand Slam defence last week for Welshman Price as he was ousted in the second round at the hands of former UK Open champion Aspinall.

However, ‘The Iceman’ has lifted three televised titles since the summer restart, and he will be looking to add to his growing collection at the Ricoh Arena.

Former world champion Cross showed signs of a return to form at the Grand Slam, despite like Price enduring a narrow second hurdle departure at the hands of Michael Smith.

Both White and German Darts Championship winner Petersen have scooped European Tour titles on stage in the last two years, and both could go deep in a tournament usually filled with shocks and surprises.

Clemens has become the German number one in recent weeks (Photo: Chris Sargeant)

Petersen and the efficient Gabriel Clemens are preparing for two tough opening round opponents in Luke Humphries and Martijn Kleermaker, but if they can overcome them, truckloads of confidence may arrive.

German number one Clemens is due a run in front of the cameras, having surprisingly never reached a major quarter-final in the professional game.

Prediction: Price beats Clemens in the quarter-finals

QUARTER FOUR

It is almost unheard of witnessing Van Gerwen endure eight months without reigning triumphant in a televised tournament, but he enters another event in which he has achieved a wealth of success in past years.

The Dutchman has won five of the tournament’s last seven editions, and enters proceedings with the will to bounce back, having squandered eight match darts against Whitlock in the Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Before his last eight exit, Van Gerwen produced a few scintillating showings, and his form is slightly better than many onlookers are imagining leading up to the tournament.

Nevertheless, there are a number of candidates extremely capable of dethroning the defending champion, with Jonny Clayton and Glen Durrant potentially awaiting in the second and third rounds respectively.

Welsh World Cup winner Clayton likes this tournament, having reached his maiden televised final in the same competition three years ago, while Durrant will prove a tricky customer for anyone.

The three-time world champion has been suffering from effects of testing positive for coronavirus in recent weeks, though, he will be hoping to reignite some confidence ahead of his second World Championship campaign.

James Wade and Dirk van Duijvenbode should not go unnoticed in the second half of this quarter, with both having reached major finals this year.

Ryan Joyce has never won at the Players Championships Finals in his two attempts, but the Newcastle thrower is another player more than capable of creating a few shockwaves through the tournament.

Prediction: Van Gerwen beats Joyce in the quarter-finals

Overall Prediction: Van Gerwen beats Ratajski in the final

2020 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS


Friday November 27
First Round
Afternoon Session (12.45pm GMT)

Main Stage
Dirk van Duijvenbode v William O’Connor
Michael Smith v Boris Krcmar
Rob Cross v Jason Lowe
Joe Cullen v Adam Hunt
Devon Petersen v Luke Humphries
Ryan Searle v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock

Stage Two
Brendan Dolan v Luke Woodhouse
Ryan Joyce v Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting v Ryan Murray
Krzysztof Ratajski v Karel Sedlacek
Gabriel Clemens v Martijn Kleermaker
Ian White v William Borland
Jonny Clayton v Mickey Mansell
Daryl Gurney v Callan Rydz
Dave Chisnall v Mervyn King

Evening Session (7pm GMT)
Main Stage

Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites
Gary Anderson v Keegan Brown
James Wade v Niels Zonneveld
Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen v Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price v John Henderson
Jose De Sousa v Mike De Decker

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort v Derk Telnekes
Ricky Evans v Jamie Hughes
Ross Smith v Kim Huybrechts
Damon Heta v Maik Kuivenhoven
Jermaine Wattimena v Steve Lennon
Madars Razma v Chris Dobey
Glen Durrant v Wayne Jones
Darren Webster v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Danny Noppert v Steve Beaton

Saturday November 28
Afternoon Session (12.45pm GMT)

16 x Round Two (two stages)

Evening Session (7pm GMT)
8 x Round Three (two stages)

Sunday November 29
Afternoon Session (12.45pm GMT)

Quarter-Finals (one stage)

Evening Session (7pm GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final (one stage)


(Featured Image: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics)

About The Author

Ben Hudd Ben is a dedicated sports writer and aspiring sports journalist, covering all aspects of darts for the ever-growing Darts Planet TV. He has a passion for sport, particularly darts, cricket and football.

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