Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s best players in action including two-time defending champion Michael van Gerwen when the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters gets underway on Thursday.
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World No 1 van Gerwen will be eyeing his third straight title in the UAE but faces stiff competition from 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, newly-crowned Premier League winner Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Stephen Bunting.
And you can see how they fare from 20:00 at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium with tickets still available for Thursday and Friday’s action.
Keen to put last week’s Premier League defeat to Anderson behind him, van Gerwen will enter today’s quarter-final clash against van Barneveld as strong favourite to go all the way.
And the 26-year-old Dutchman is relishing the chance of attempting a hat-trick of titles in Dubai.
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“I’ve had a superb two years in Dubai and it holds many good memories,” he said. “But this is a new year and I need to play exceptionally well. There are many good players here and I need to be at my best to do well.”
Having beaten van Barneveld in last week’s Premier League semifinals in London, van Gerwen is wary of his compatriot.
“We’ve played many times before so we know what to expect and it will be a nice game for both of us and also for the crowd.”
With the 2015 Masters and 2014 World Championship among the accolades in his trophy cabinet, van Gerwen acknowledges all eyes will be on him but does not feel under pressure.
“I don’t feel pressure because I’ve been under pressure for the last two years,” he said. “I’m feeling really relaxed. Some things don’t go according to plan in life but you just have to go out there and try to handle the situation as well as you can.”
Unlike many of the tournaments, this event will be played outdoors and van Gerwen admits the hot climate could provide some challenges.
He added: “There is a little bit of difference with the kind of conditions but you have to handle that. I have no problem playing outdoors but playing in the heat is completely different.”
Hoping to register a victory in Dubai, Taylor opens his campaign against world No 5 Wright.
“I will be giving it a good go because I’ve been playing well and doing everything properly in practice, and everything’s going to plan so far,” he said.
Wade, who takes on Anderson in his last-eight clash, is confident of success but admits the competition is wide open.
The world No 6, said: “I haven’t come here to lose and I will give my best and play my natural game that I’ve been doing for the last couple of years.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say there is one person who is the outright favourite to win. In any tournament you feel there may be one or two players in with a chance of winning, but there are five or six players who can win here, including myself.”
Completing the quarter-final line-up is 2011 world champion Lewis, who takes on Bunting. Tickets can be purchased on www.dubai-darts.com/tickets or in person at the Irish Village.
WHAT: Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters
WHEN: Thursday and Friday from 20:00
WHERE: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud
Sport360 VERDICT: Expect thrilling matches with some of the world’s finest players in action in what will be a vibrant atmosphere.
CONTACT: For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.dubai-darts.com/tickets. Tickets can also be purchased on the day at the venue.
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