Dimitri Van den Bergh is relishing his return to Townsville this week, as he bids to continue his blistering World Series of Darts form Down Under.
Van den Bergh claimed back-to-back titles at the Nordic Darts Masters and Dutch Darts Masters in June, and he will have the opportunity to extend his winning run in August’s treble-header.
The Belgian wasn’t originally among the eight players set to headline Australia and New Zealand, but he was drafted in as a late replacement for World Champion Peter Wright, who withdrew due to health reasons.
“It is unfortunate for Peter, but it gives me the opportunity to go to Australia, and I’m going to take it with both hands,” said Van den Bergh, who defeated Wright at last month’s Betfred World Matchplay.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to Australia but it was a dream for me back then – and this time I’m going as a representative of the PDC and taking part in the World Series.
“It’s a massive honour; a very proud moment in my career.”
This month’s World Series of Darts roadshow kicks off with the PalmerBet Queensland Darts Masters from August 12-13 in Townsville, a place which holds happy memories for the enigmatic Belgian.
Van den Bergh prevailed in an exhibition event in Townsville back in January 2018, overcoming several local hopefuls before toppling 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor in the final.
“That was a beautiful moment and it was an amazing experience,” added the former World Matchplay winner.
“I can’t wait to be back! I still remember a few players and fair play to all of them who have qualified.
“It is an opportunity for them to be on the big stage. I’m never going to underestimate anybody. I’m going to give it my very best.”
The 28-year-old could take on his housemate Damon Heta in the opening round of each event, with the Australian World Cup winner one of eight regional representatives set to compete against the PDC elite.
Heta, a former Brisbane Darts Masters winner, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since claiming a PDC Tour Card in January 2020, claiming a brace of ProTour titles and breaking into the world’s top 20.
However, Van den Bergh insists the best is yet to come for the Australian, despite his World Cup of Darts success alongside Simon Whitlock in July.
“The man is an amazing dart player, and at the house I see how good he is, how determined he is,” Van den Bergh continued.
“I believe in him so much and in my eyes, he hasn’t shown his best qualities yet.
“I am sure he is going to be a major champion.”
Van den Bergh boasts a six-point cushion at the top of the World Series of Darts Order of Merit ahead of his trip Down Under, following emphatic victories in Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
The two-time World Youth champion dispatched Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and Gary Anderson to clinch Nordic Darts Masters glory, and he relinquished just seven legs in prevailing on Dutch soil.
As a result, Van den Bergh is in pole position to be the top seed at next month’s World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam, although he is refusing to get carried away.
“I’ve already won two of the World Series events this year, and that blows my mind,” admitted the Antwerp ace.
“Winning tournaments against the best players in the world and also winning convincingly was a massive confidence boost.
“It would be amazing to have another win on the World Series but I’ve got to keep my feet on the ground and focus on the first round.
“I want to perform well, because it’s going to be a beautiful experience.”
PalmerBet Queensland Darts Masters
Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, James Wade, Jonny Clayton, Joe Cullen, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Fallon Sherrock
Damon Heta, Simon Whitlock, Gordon Mathers, Bailey Marsh, Koha Kokiri, Dave Marland, Joe Comito, Haupai Puha