The seeded players enter the fray at the German Darts Open on Saturday as the last 32 of the tournament gets played out across two sessions of play with spots at the final day of the competition at stake.
Many of the big names in the sport have given this weekend a miss but we do get to see the defending champion Peter Wright, World Matchplay winner Nathan Aspinall and the New South Wales Masters winner Rob Cross on show for the first time.
We have a good afternoon schedule to enjoy in Jena on Saturday with it getting underway with the UK Open champion Andrew Gilding meeting the Latvian star Madars Razma before Jose de Sousa takes to the big stage for a potentially tricky challenge against Mike De Decker. Krzysztof Ratajski will be hoping to make it through to the final day in the third match of the afternoon when he takes on Ricky Evans before we reach the halfway point of the afternoon with Josh Rock taking on the American challenger Jules van Dongen.
Ryan Searle had a good World Matchplay and will be looking to make progress on another stage when he brings us into the second half of the afternoon when he faces Kevin Doets before Danny Noppert takes to the arena. Dylan Slevin is his opening opponent. We conclude the afternoon with a couple of belting matches on paper as the in form Rob Cross meets Brian Raman before Joe Cullen takes on the former world champion Stephen Bunting.
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We always have good evening sessions on the European Tour and that is certainly no different on Saturday. The popular Dutch star Dirk van Duijvenbode gets things going when he meets Roy van de Griendt who is new to this level. Peter Wright gets his title defence underway in the second match of the session when he meets fellow Scottish player Cameron Menzies before Damon Heta takes on Florian Hempel who took care of James Wade on Friday. We reach the halfway mark of the evening with Luke Humphries going up against Ricardo Pietreczko.
The second part of the evening begins with the top seed Dave Chisnall looking to continue what has been a fine campaign on the European Tour so far when he meets Luke Woodhouse who looked good on Friday. The pick of the matches in the second part of the evening sees the new World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall going up against the exciting Dutch player Gian van Veen before the home crowds will be at full voice when Martin Schindler takes on Daryl Gurney before the day concludes with Ross Smith meeting Wesley Plaisier.
This is one of those days where there aren’t too many favourites I’m eager to take on but one of them that I am happy to oppose is Nathan Aspinall. That might sound strange given that he won the World Matchplay and made the final of one of the World Series events down under over the last six weeks or so but he hasn’t played since he come back from Australia a month or so ago so he might have a little bit of rust to shift ahead of the World Series Finals next weekend.
Gian van Veen has been much more active in that time. He has played in all of the Players Championship events over the last couple of weeks, reaching the final of one and the last 16 in another and has the likes of Joe Cullen and Michael Smith among his victims. The Dutch star also has a match on this stage under his belt as well having beaten Simon Whitlock here on Friday so a potentially competitively sharper van Veen looks a touch of value to see off an Aspinall who might be short of a gallop.
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