x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The five to watch at Dubai Darts Masters

The second edition of the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters gets underway tonight at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Paul Radley looks at the players in with a chance of being crowned champion.

Michael van Gerwen

The world No 1 was the inaugural winner 12 months ago, when all of the players stepped into the unknown by competing in the open-air for the first time. Of the conditions, the Dutchman said: “I like it hot. It doesn’t matter, you have to play the tournament. I like this country and I really want to win on this stage again.”

Phil Taylor

The most successful player in history and world No 2 has shelved plans for retirement and for an appearance on UK TV show I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here to try to reclaim his place at the summit of darts. “The Power” is aiming for a first win in the UAE. “If I play properly, I can win it easy,” he said of the Dubai title.

Raymond van Barneveld

The five-time world champion was runner-up here last year, despite talking down his prospects before the competition. The Dutchman feared his soft throwing style may be hindered by breeze at the open-air venue. “Not everyone was OK with it last year,” he said of the conditions. “I think it is anyone’s game.”

Adrian Lewis

The world No 3 went out in the first round against Van Barneveld 12 months ago, but has tasted success on the circuit since. Lewis, a two-time world champion, won the European championship straight after competing here, then won again at the UK Open in March.

Peter Wright

The flamboyant Dubai newcomer said he is ahead of his own grand plan, having reached Premier League status this year. The world No 5 was watching the Dubai competition on TV last year. “I can’t wait to get out there – in my shorts and vest, as it’s a little bit warmer than the UK at the moment,” he said.

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