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Nordic Darts Masters: Preview

Michael Smith kicked off the 2022 World Series with victory in New York last weekend and he'll be confident he can go back-to-back at the second event, the Nordic Masters.

What: Nordic Darts Masters

Where: Forum Copenhagen, Denmark

When: Friday-Saturday, 10-11 June, 2022

How to watch: ITV4

Odds: M van Gerwen 11/4, G Price 7/2, M Smith 7/2, P Wright 5/1

The Nordic Darts Masters, the second event of six which make up the qualifiers for the World Series Finals, takes place over two days at the Forum Copenhagen just outside the Danish capital.

Sixteen players are taking part, eight from the PDC's elite ranks plus eight Nordic qualifiers. Michael van Gerwen is 11/4 to successfully defend the crown he won last September when he beat Fallon Sherrock in the final. Sherrock is 100/1 to go one better this weekend.

Smith looking to double up for a third time

Michael Smith's knack of repeating is a handy one to have as Bully Boy goes in search of a second triumph in the space of a few, short days.

The 7/2 shot threw some wonderful darts at last weekend's US Darts Masters, beating home hope Doug Boehm, then Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and finally Van Gerwen in the final to lift the trophy and claim a second World Series.

And performances over the last few weeks tell you that when Smith wins once he's quite likely to win again.

Smith had to wait until the middle of May to claim his first title of 2022, a Players Championship event in Wigan. Twenty-four hours later he made it two in a row.

Then at the end of the month he signed off a disappointing Premier League campaign by winning Night 16 in Newcastle. And three days later he was in the winner's enclosure once more, this time at the Dutch Championship.

He certainly can't complain about his draw in Copenhagen where he kicks off with a best-of-11 legs showdown against local thrower Vladimir Andersen with either Sherrock or Darius Labanauskas awaiting in the last eight.

Sherrock in need of inspiration

All eyes, inevitably, will be on Sherrock, the Queen of the Palace, who is determined to prove once again that she merits inclusion in this prestigious invitational series.

Her form at the back end of 2021, when she reached the final of this event plus the Grand Slam quarter-finals, certainly hinted she might be worth a wild-card with the PDC hell-bent on promoting this brightest of talents.

But the decision to block book her for the campaign felt a little premature in New York last weekend when she suffered a nightmare, averaging a dismal 71 in a 6-2 first-round loss to Leonard Gates.

She had gone off favourite against Gates but that certainly isn't the case this week where she is 2/1 to beat first-round opponent, the vastly experienced Labanauskas.

The second quarter of the top half should produce a quarter-final between Gerwyn Price and Dimitri van den Bergh if they can see off Brian Lokken and Benjamin Drue Reus respectively with the Welshman 7/2 to go on an lift the trophy, Van den Bergh 11/1.

History-maker Fridriksson has Wright in his sights

The stand-out tie in the bottom half of the draw is between Wright and Matthias Orn Fridriksson, and not because it will necessarily be close. Snakebite is 1/25 to win.

The interest stems from the fact that Fridriksson becomes the first player from Iceland to feature in a televised PDC event.

Should Wright prevail he will meet either Anderson or experienced Swede Daniel Larsson. Anderson is 14/1 to go on and claim the title.

Defending champion Van Gerwen shouldn't have too many difficulties seeing off Finland's Marko Kantele though James Wade against Madars Razma has the potential to be an awkward encounter for the English left-hander.

Razzmatazz, a five-time Latvian champion and winner at both the Lakeside and Alexandra Palace in the BDO and PDC's respective world championships, is seasoned enough and good enough should Wade's standards drop off.

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