The World Series of Darts moves on to its final destination down under this week with Phil Taylor holding an unassailable lead at the top of the ranking table after his masterful win in Sydney.
The Draw – Round One and World Series Form
Adrian Lewis v David Platt
An excellent weekend in Sydney (where he lost in the final to Taylor) has seen Lewis rise to equal fourth in the
World Series rankings. Sydney was a much better result after early exits in both Japan and Perth – like wade before him, Lewis only had a 15 minute break between the semi-final and final in Sydney.
Platt was taken apart 6-1 by Bunting in the first round of the Sydney Darts Masters. He’ll certainly be hoping for a better showing in Aukland against Lewis.
Peter Wright v Mark Cleaver
Wright currently lies equal fourth in the World Series Rankings (with Lewis), mostly thanks to his runners-up in
Japan to Taylor. Other than that he’s been a nearly man, losing to an unstoppable Taylor in last weeks Sydney semi-finals.
Mark will be making his TV debut against Peter Wright, having come through the second series of qualifiers on Wednesday.
James Wade v Paul Nicholson
Wade currently lies sixth in the World Series rankings, having been knocked out in the quarter-finals in three of
the four events so far, including last weeks Sydney defeat to Wright. A jaded final defeat to Taylor (with just a 15 minute break after the semi-final) in Perth has been the highlight of his series so far.
Nicholson lost tamely to Peter Wright in Perth, before starting strongly against van Gerwen in Sydney, eventually going down 6-2.
Phil Taylor v Craig Caldwell
Taylor has an unassailable lead at the top of the World Series rankings now and will be seeded number one come finals night in Glasgow in November. He’s won the last three World Series events in Japan, Perth and Sydney, including the first televised nine-dart leg on Australian soil in the Sydney semi-final.
This will be the third consecutive World Series event that Caldwell has qualified for. So far he’s not really caused the established players much concern, loading add he had 6-1 to Taylor (Perth) and 6-2 to James Wade (Sydney).
Raymond van Barneveld v Loz Ryder
Barney has had a particularly jaded looking World Series. A semi-final defeat to Lewis in Sydney has been his one glimpse of light in the four events so far, losing in the last eight in the previous three events. It wouldn’t be un-Barney like to produce the goods in this last event and then in Glasgow to turn his series around though.
This will be Ryder’s third visit to a World Series event in 2015. His previous two visits have both ended in disappointment – a 6-1 defeat to Lewis in Perth and a much closer 6-3 loss to Peter Wright in Sydney last Thursday. Ryder was still in the match at 4-3 down before Snakebite’s experience and class prevailed.
Stephen Bunting v Simon Whitlock
Bunting is the only one of the big eight to have lost to a qualifier so far in the World Series, losing in Perth to Kyle Anderson. It’s been a pretty miserable series so far for Bunting, not yet having made it past the quarter-finals. Fortunately for him though, the way the series has been set up, he will be making an appearance in Glasgow.
Whitlock has been the biggest qualifier threat down-under. He gave van Barneveld a scare in Perth when he went 3-1 up, before eventually falling at the first hurdle. He then took Lewis to a deciding leg in Sydney before bowing out 6-5. This could be Bunting’s second exit to a qualifier in the series.
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Szabo
van Gerwen, other than Taylor, is the only player ever to have won a World Series event – currently second in the World Series rankings having won in Dubai and semi-finalist in both Japan and Perth. However, his quarter-final defeat to van Barneveld in Sydney now sees him too far behind Taylor (with just one event to go before finals in Scotland) to take top spot.
The 49 year old New Zealander, Szabo’s, claim to fame is being one set to nil up against Phil Taylor in the 2014 PDC World Championships. No real exposure to the darts world outside of New Zealand though.
Gary Anderson v Rob Modra
Gary Anderson lost a semi-final in each of the first three 2015 World Series events, before a quarter-final defeat to Adrian Lewis in Sydney last week. Without a final appearance to his name to date, a disappointing performance in Aukland could see him way down the seedings in Glasgow.
Although Modra has recently won the DPA Australian Matchplay and Victoria Open, this will be the Australians first appearance in a televised match – against the reigning PDC World Champion! What a draw!
Taylor on Form
The 16 times champion of the world stormed to his third straight event win in the World Series of Darts at the weekend, including the first ever televised nine-dart-leg in Australia during his semi-final win against Snakebite Wright – a match he won 10-7.
In the final, he dominated Adrian Lewis to win 11-3 and now leads the World Series Ranking table by 19 points from Michael van Gerwen with just one event to go, in Aukland, New Zealand, this weekend, before the finals event in Glasgow this November.
And on to Aukland
The Aukland Darts Masters kicks-off this Friday at 7pm local time (8am UK), so delayed coverage will be the order of the day for ITV4 in the UK on Friday & Saturday (8pm) and Sunday (9pm).
“It has been a pleasure to see the growth of the World Series of Darts over the past two years, and to be visiting New Zealand for the first time for the Auckland Darts Masters is another major step for us.
“The Auckland Darts Masters is a great opportunity for players from the region to take on the biggest names in darts and it promises to be a hugely exciting three days at the Trusts Arena.”
PDC Chairman, Barry Hearn
The eight regular PDC players in the World Series will once again be joined by eight local qualifiers.
The first qualifier into the hat for the first round draw is Loz Ryder who secured his place on Tuesday evening by beating Craig Caldwell in the first qualifying final. The remaining qualifier places will be decided in the run up to the main event on Friday. We’ll reveal the remaining qualifiers here later in the week along with the draw.
The Story So Far
World Series Ranking Points have been awarded at each of the first four events (as they will be in Aukland) – these will be used to seed the players at the World Series Finals in Glasgow this November. Have a read of our reviews of the previous events in Dubai, Japan, Perth and Sydney.
The current Ranking Points look like this…
(after the Sydney Darts Master)
44 – Phil Taylor
25 – Michael van Gerwen
19 – Peter Wright & Adrian Lewis
18 – Gary Anderson
17 – James Wade
14 – Raymond van Barneveld
10 – Stephen Bunting
3 – Kyle Anderson
2 – Loz Ryder, Craig Caldwell, Paul Nicholson, Simon Whitlock & David Platt
1 – Kim Lewis, Haruki Muramatsu, Morihiro Hashimoto, Sho Katsumi, Masumi Chino, Yuki Yamada, Chikari Fujimori, Shintaro Inoue, Katsuya Aiba
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