Mensur Suljovic continues to stun darts fans across the globe with his scintillating television performances, a ruthless 10-3 victory over highly ranked Michael Smith would’ve been seen as a eye opener years ago, but following his exploits at Grand Prix and World Matchplay, he is widely expected to reach the latter stages of major tournaments.
The big Austrian strolled through his opening tie with the injury stricken Mervyn King, hit meticulous double hitting ending the Kings chances of a second Players Championship final. His finishing would once again be a key factor as he romped through the inaugural session, securing a five leg lead over the highly thought of youngster.
Suljovic’s leisurely style had Smith on the ropes from the very first dart, the youngster much like his mentor Gary Anderson, becoming increasingly frustrated with every loose dart. The emphatic win for Suljovic lifts the head to head record to three a piece between the pair.
Big Ben strikes ten
After cruising through his first round clash with Stephen Bunting yesterday afternoon, World number seven should’ve proved a much more robust test. Van de Pas was quick out of the blocks, racing into an early 4-1 advantage. Ruthless finishing was the key factor once more as Big Ben eased into a six leg lead, the lacklustre Wade rarely threatening to lighten up.
The deluxe Dutchman will now face Dave Chisnall in Sunday’s quarter final. The man from St Helen’s came through a tough test against the much improved Jamie Lewis. The young Welshman, who hit six 180’s in clinching his victory over Robert Thornton. Experience finally prevailed 17 legs in as Chizzy broke Rasta’s throw and finally take a breather following a tough second round test.
Whitlock finding his feet
So often magnificent players hit the wall in their career and never recover. Go down the drain so to speak. This is what seemed to have been happening with Simon Whitlock. In 2012 the Wizard was a Premier League runner up, and a European Champion. Since then his major records have desperately declined. Richie Burnett confirmed Whitlock’s loss of form was not just a blip in last years opening round at the World Grand Prix. But year on from that tie, the Australian may have reversed his fortunes.
His opponent Peter Wright, hit the ground running in his impressive first victory over Steve Beaton, following his World Series final appearance in Glasgow last weekend. The Scotsman took a 4-1 advantage into the interval, but Whitlock would not lie down, sticking to his task and eventually clawing the game back to level pegging. His emotional outbreak following the winning dart signifies how much this triumph could mean for his career, we’ll just have to see when the World Championships come around.