There are three places in the Betfred World Matchplay up for grabs at this weekend’s Czech Darts Open, as the race for Winter Gardens qualification reaches its climax.
The inaugural staging of the Czech Open in Prague marks the final ranking event before the World Matchplay cut-off, as 32 of the world’s best players prepare to battle it out for the prestigious title in Blackpool from July 20-28.
The top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit will qualify automatically and are seeded for the event – and with Adrian Lewis more than £25,000 ahead of Joe Cullen, the top 16 are now confirmed.
Two-time champion Michael van Gerwen headlines the list of seeds, while Gary Anderson bids to defend his title. The top 16 are joined by 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit – from which 13 places are now secure from the current provisional standings.
Three-time Lakeside world champion Glen Durrant is set to make his World Matchplay debut next month, with two Players Championship wins ensuring a flying start to his PDC career. Krzysztof Ratajski and Ricky Evans will also make their Blackpool bows after their strong 2019 form.
Last year’s semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan – who stunned Van Gerwen in the opening round 12 months ago, will make his Winter Gardens return, while Premier League ‘Contender’ Chris Dobey and former Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert are among the confirmed debutants.
Vincent van der Voort, James Wilson and Kyle Anderson currently occupy the remaining three Pro Tour spots, but the trio all missed out on qualification for the Czech Darts Open, therefore they could find their involvement in the Matchplay under serious threat.
Anderson is the most vulnerable on £32,750, with Wilson (£34,750) and Van der Voort (£35,000) just ahead of the Australian. Eleven players involved in this weekend’s event in Prague could still secure Matchplay qualification, although seven of the hopefuls would need to win the tournament to do so.
Former World Youth champion Keegan Brown will move above ‘The Original’ and into a qualification spot if he reaches the second round, although his place could come under threat depending on other results.
World Cup finalist William O’Connor must reach the quarter-finals to secure a Winter Gardens debut, whilst Ron Meulenkamp and Steve West require a run to the semi-finals if they are to grab a World Matchplay place.
Elsewhere, Jamie Hughes, Ted Evetts, Robert Thornton, Brendan Dolan, Justin Pipe, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Madars Razma must win the Czech Darts Open if they are to reach Blackpool.
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers: Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, James Wade, Mensur Suljovic, Ian White, Dave Chisnall, Simon Whitlock, Nathan Aspinall, Jonny Clayton, Darren Webster, Adrian Lewis.
Pro Tour Confirmed Qualifiers: Krzysztof Ratajski, Ricky Evans, Glen Durrant, Joe Cullen, Steve Beaton, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Jermaine Wattimena, Chris Dobey. Danny Noppert, Max Hopp, Stephen Bunting, John Henderson, Mervyn King.
Photo Credit: PDC Europe